The surname of WILDE was derived from the Old English WILDE - dweller by the uncultivated land. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. It was also a nickname for one who was wild, violent and untamed. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention Uluricus Wilde who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. Other records of the name include William Wilde of the County of Huntingdonshire in 1273 and Johannes Wylde of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. A later instance of the name mentions John Wray and Rachell Wylde who were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1660. The name has various spellings which include Wild, Whilder, Wildman and Wild. Of this family name was Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) who was descended from Ralph Wilde, a builder from Walsingham near Durham, who had moved to Ireland in the 17th century.
The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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