The surname of WELLS was a locational name 'from Wells-by-the sea' a spot in County Norfolk. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he held his land. This name identified his whole family and followed him wherever he moved. It could have been his place of birth, or the name of his land-holding. The name is also spelt WELLE, WELL and WELLES. Early records of the name mention Gilbert de Welles, of County Norfolk, who was documented in the year 1273. Hervy del Welle was the vicar of Mendham, County Norfolk in 1320. Johannes del Well, of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Anthony Wells of County Sussex, registered at Oxford University in 1583. John Wells married Joane Viccaries, in London in the year of 1617. They were an ancient Norman family established in Ireland under Sir John de Courcy, Earl of Ulster AD 1177. Andrew Savage of Portaferry representative of this family on inheriting the fortune of his maternal grand-uncle assumed the surname and Arms of Nuggent by Royal Licence, 1812. An interesting member of the name was H.G. (Herbert George) Wells (1866-1946) the English novelist and short story writer and popular historian, born in Bromley, Kent. At 18, he left his job as a draper's apprentice and became a pupil teacher at the Midhurst Grammar School, from where he won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science, South Kensington. Although distracted by politics, writing and teaching, he obtained a BSc in 1890. He wrote over a hundred books and countless articles, 'The Time Machine' was written in 1895. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
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