The surname of WOULF was derived from the Old French word 'wulf' a nickname for one with the characteristics of a wolf. The name was brought to Ireland in the wake of the Norman Conquest at the end of the 12th century by settlers who established themselves in County Kildare and subsequently in County Limerick. The name is now most prevalent in Munster and particularly still in County Cork, but a few descendants of the County Kildare Woulfe's have survived in that county. Early records of the name mention Robert Wulf of London, who was documented in the year 1166. John le Wlf (with this spelling) was recorded in County Sussex in 1273. Adam le Wolf of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Wulph of County Wiltshire, registered at Oxford University in 1586. James Wolfe (1727-1759). English General; commanded the British Forces at the seige of Quebec in which he was killed. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Corbally and Bally-Philip, County Limerick. A very ancient family in that county descended from Thomas Woulfe Esq, Bailiff or Sheriff of Limerick in 1476; his great grandson James Woulfe Esq., of Corbally, Sheriff of Limerick in 1605 had six sons, Patrick, whose own son was ousted from Corbally by Oliver Cromwell, and his descendants settled in Paris: Richard who left descendants in Limerick: Stephen who settled in Clare: James, a Dominican Friar: Francis, Superior of the Franciscan Friars at Limerick: James, the Hero of Quebec.
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