The surname of WOOLEY was a locational name 'of Wolley' a spot in Berkshire and a small place in County Devon. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Wilege (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners 'to shires they did not know and where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey, and report culprits to the King'. The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged, and copied by one single writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers into a second volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed, in less than 12 months. Other records of the name mention Hugo de Wuluele who appears in the year 1219 in County Yorkshire. Bate de Wolflay, 1308, Wakefield, Yorkshire. 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. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The name is also spelt Woolley and Wooley.
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