Recorded as Welburn and Wellburn, this is an English surname. It is locational from one or perhaps all the various villages in the counties of Norfolk, Lincoln and Yorkshire called either Welbourne, Welbourn or Welburn. The origin is the Olde English pre 7th century 'waella - burna' giving a literal translation of the spring on the stream, but probably meaning the head of the stream or river, the place where the flow commenced. This is almost certainly the case with the village of Welburn in North Yorkshire. Locational names were usually given to either the lord of the manor as in the first recording below, or to people who for whatever reason, left their original village to move somewhere else. In so doing they were most easily identified by being called after their former homes. Early examples of the surname recordings include Hugh de Welleburn in the famous Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire in the year 1273, and the even earlier one of Ailmer de Welleburnia. This was dated 1185, in the list of Knight Templars (Crusaders) of Lincolnshire during the reign of King Henry IInd of England,1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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