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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The distinguished surname Wiles emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. Occupational surnames were derived from the common trades of the medieval era. The surname Wiles is an occupational name for a person employed in trapping fish. The surname Wiles is derived from the late Old English word wil, which means trick and was used to refer to mechanical devices such as windmills or traps. This derivation of the name Wiles is supported by the existence of the Old English word wyle, which refers to a wicker trap for catching fish, particularly eels. Historians also suggest that the surname may have also been a nickname applied to a cunning man or someone "of many wiles."
The surname Wiles was first found in Sussex where they held a family seat from early times.
Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Wiles, Willes, Wyles and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wiles research. Another 133 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1693, 1773, 1773, 1685 and 1761 are included under the topic Early Wiles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Prominent in the family at this time was Edward Willes (1693-1773), an English Anglican Bishop of St David's and later Bishop of Bath and Wells; he died in London in 1773, and...
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wiles Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Wiles were among those contributors:
Wiles Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Wiles Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Wiles Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Wiles Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Wiles Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
The Wiles Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wiles Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 9 May 2016 at 12:20.