The surname is Scottish and Northern English in origin. The name is derived from the medieval given name Will, a diminutive of William. The given name William is derived from the Norman form of the Old French personal name composed of the Germanic elements ‘wil’ will, desire and ‘helm’ helment,protection. The name thus signified ‘beloved-helment’ or protector. The name was introduced into England at the time of the Conquest, and within a very short period the name became the most popular given name in England, no doubt in honour of William the Conquerer himself. The Conquerer was followed by his son on the throne, William Rufus. It remained the most popular personal name in England until it was superseded by John. The given name also enjoyed great popularity in Germany (as Wilhelm), France (as Guillaume), Spain (as Guillermo), and Italy (as Guglielmo). The name in its Old German form(Willelm) dates back to the sixth century were the forebear of king Raedwald is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. The name gave rise to a host of surnames including Williamson, Williams and of course Willis. The name may also be a topographical name… Coat of arms: Argent a chev…
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