The ancient surname of WILLINGALE was of the locational group of surnames 'from Willingale Doe' and 'Willingale Spain' the name of two places in County Essex. The name was derived from the Old English word WILLINGHALA, literally meaning the dweller at the dale of Willa's people. The placename Willingale Doe was from a Hugh de Ou, a Norman family name, perhaps from Eu in Seine-Inferieure, brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. SPAIN was held by William de Hyspania in 1236. The family name is stated to have been derived from Epaignes in Eure, Normandy. WILLINGHEHALA (without surname) was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and appears to be the first of the name on record. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. WILLINGEHALE (without surname) appears in Essex in 1198, and WYLLIGGEHALEDO (without surname) was recorded in 1271. As a general rule, the further someone had travelled from his place of origin, the broader the designation. Someone who stayed at home might be known by the name of his farm or locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could acquire the name of the county or region from which he originated. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. The arms depicted here have been quartered with Willing and Gale.
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