This is an English locational name of Anglo-Saxon origin, from a place in West Yorkshire now called 'Woodlesford', but first recorded in the 12th Century as 'Wrislesfordia' and 'Wridelesford'. The placename means 'the ford at the thickets', from the Old English pre 7th Century 'wridels' a derivative of 'wrid', bush, or thicket, and 'ford' meaning ford. The change of ending from 'ford' to 'forth' or 'worth' is a comparatively late one, the first recording of 'Wrigglesworth' (as a surname) being that of one 'William Wriglesworth' in 1605 in the Parish Records of Rothwell, Yorkshire. The placename is first recorded as 'Wriglesworth' in 1620. Locational surnames were usually acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname from this source can be found as Wrig(g)lesworth, Rig(g)lesford and Riggulsford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Writhelfford, which was dated 1379, Register of the Free Men of the City of York, during the reign of King Richard 11, 'Richard of Bordeaux', 1377-1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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