The surname of WILDER has the associated arms recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Granted Nunhide and Purley Hall and Sulham, County Berkshire, during the reign of Henry VII - 1485-1509. The name was derived from the Old English WILDEOR - probably a hunter of wild animals. Occupational surnames refer directly to the particular trade or occupation followed by the first bearer of the name. These occupations can be divided into classes such as agricultural, manufacturing, retailing and so on. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today. Smiths, millers and wrights were indeed specialists, but even they would normally have their own smallholdings for growing crops and keeping a few animals. Others were simply designated as the servant of some person of a higher social status, as a maid or parson. The name was occasionally used as a locational name for one who lived on the uncultivated land. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land. Early records of the name mention William Wyldere of the County of Surrey and Derbyshire in 1327. William Wilde appears in County Lancashire in 1350, and Thomas Wilder of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name has various spellings which include Wild, Whilder, Wildman and Wild. Of this family name was Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) who was descended from Ralph Wilde, a builder from Walsingham near Durham, who had moved to Ireland in the 17th century. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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