The surname of WHEELER was an occupational name, a wheelright - a maker of cart-wheels, a familiar entry in medieval records. The name was derived from the Old English word Wealere and other spellings include WHEALER, WHALER, WAILER, WAYLOR and WHILER. Early records of the name mention High le Welere, County Cambridge, 1273. Richard le Wherlere, ibid. Robert le Whelere of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Gilbert Wheeler, of County Worcestershire registered at Oxford University in 1593. Thomas Wheeler and Judith Hilliard were married at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1691. The name Wheeler is particularly common on the Isle of Wight; on the mainland it is concentrated in the neighbouring regions of central south England. It is fairly evenly distributed over the rest of south England, but much less common in the north. 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. A notable member of the name was Sir Robert Eric Mortimer WHEELER (1890-1976) the English archaeologist, born in Glasgow. He was educated at Bradford and London, and became director of the National Museum of Wales in 1920, and keeper of the London Museum in London between 1926-1944. He carried out notable excavations in Britain at Verulamium (St. Albans). He was knighted in 1952, and wrote several books on archaeology. Sir Charles WHEELER (1892-1974) was the English sculptor, born in Staffordshire. He is noted for his decorative sculptures on monuments and buildings.
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