This surname of WADLEIGH was a baptismal name 'the son of Wadelief', one of several personal names ending in 'lief' meaning dear. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and William Wadylove, who appears in Yorkshire in the year 1260, appears to be the first of the name on record. Ralph Wadiluue is in record in 1273, and William Wadeinlive appears in 1279. Thomas Wadyloue, Robert Wadyloef and Adam Wadinlof, of Yorkshire, all appear in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name is also spelt Waddilow and Waddilove. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is often assumed that men 'adopted' their surnames. Some certainly did, but the individual himself had no need for a label to distinguish him from his fellows. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each knight owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized. Monasteries drew up surveys and extents with details of tenants of all classes in their services. Any description which identified the man was satisfactory, his father's name, the name of his land, or a nickname known to be his. The upper classes mostly illiterate, were those with whom the officials were chiefly concerned and among them surnames first became numerous and hereditary. Later instances of the name mention Thomas Wadloff, who was a parchment seller in Oxford in 1564. Francis Lund and Susanna Wadlow were married in Canterbury, Kent in the year 1683, and Thomas Halton and Elizabeth Wadlow were married at the same place in 1686. The arms depicted here have been quartered with WAD and LOVE. Both the associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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