The surname of WILSHER was a locational name - from the shire so called. 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. Early records of the name mention Michael de Wyltshire, 1273 County Cambridge. Almaric de Wiltshire, 1213 County Wiltshire. Almaric de Wiltshire was recorded in 1313 in County Somerset. Richard Willshire of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Cane and Marye Wilshire were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1653. John Wiltshire married Ann Hazell, St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1794. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. The name is also spelt Wilshire, Wilsher and Wiltsheare. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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