This surname of WITCHERLEY was derived from the Old English 'WICE', dweller by the 'wych-elm' tree. Local names derive from a place name, indicating where the man held land, or the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. The name is also spelt WYKERLEY, WITCHERLEY, WYCHLEY and WITCHLEY. Early records of the name mention Robert de la WYKERLEY who was recorded in the year 1248 and Nicholas ATTEWYCHE of the County of Somerset was documented in 1270. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A notable member of the name was William WYCHERLEY (circa.1640-1716) the English dramatist, born in Clive, near Shrewsbury. In his early youth, he was sent to France. He left Queen's College, Oxford, without a degree, and entered the Middle Temple. For some years he lived as a man about town and a courtier, but then worked as a dramatist, and 'Love in a Wood, or St. James's Park', a comedy, was received with much applause in 1671. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. The arms were registered at Wicherley, County Salop. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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