Recorded in a number of spellings including apparently Willarton, Willerson, Willerston, Willerstone, Willerton and possibly Woolerton, Woollerton, Wollerton, Wooloton and others, this is an English locational surname. It may originate from the two villages called Willaston in the county of Cheshire, one near Hooton, the other Nantwich, and both first recorded as Wilaveston in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names, the meaning is Wiglaf's farm, the former being a pre 7th century Olde English personal name. However there is also the village of Woolaston near Tewksbury in Gloucestershire (Wulfs farm), or Woolston in Derbyshire or Woolston In Hampshire, which mean the same. The surname in its different forms is well recorded in the city of London from Elizabethan times, but may well have other epi-centres in England. Locational names were traditionally "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original villages, to move somewhere else. Spelling being at best erratic, and local dialects very thick, often as with this name, lead to the creation of "sounds like" spellings. Examples of recordings include Richard Willerston, who was christened at St Andrews Holborn on August 30th 1581, Tomae Willerton, a christening witness at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on December 3rd 1673, and Samuel Woolerton, christened at St Mary-le-Bone, on June 16th 1797.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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