Show ContentsWillsher History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Willsher name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in Wiltshire, a county in southwestern England. The place-name was recorded as Wiltunscir in 870, and as Wiltescire in the Domesday Book, [1] compiled in 1086. The place-name means "shire centered on Wilton." Wilton is composed of the Old English elements wilig, which means willow tree, and tun, for farmstead or enclosure. The place-name Wilton means "farm where the willow trees grow." [2]

Early Origins of the Willsher family

The surname Willsher was first found in Sussex where Hunfridus de Wilechier was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1157. The same rolls listed Hunfridus de Wilecher in 1162. In Wiltshire, Nicholas de Wiltesir was recorded in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1207 and later, Robert Wylchar was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1275. In Hampshire, John Wilteshire was listed in 1298 and in Kent, William Wylkeshire was listed in 1440. [3]

Despite the fact that the "surname is derived from a geographical locality and is 'from Wiltshire,'" [4] the name was widespread by the 13th century. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included Michael de Wyltesire, Cambridgeshire; William de Wyltesyre, Somerset; Roger de Wilteschire, Salop (Shropshire). The Writs of Parliament includes an entry for Almaric de Wilteshire, 1313 but no county is given. [4]

Early History of the Willsher family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willsher research. Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1456, 1483, 1534, 1674, 1680, 1758, 1794 and 1798 are included under the topic Early Willsher History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Willsher Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Willsher include Wiltshire, Wiltshear, Wiltsheir and others.

Early Notables of the Willsher family

Distinguished members of the family include Sir John Wiltshire of Stone Castle, Kent. His daughter Bridget Wiltshire (later, Wingfield, then Hervey, then Tyrwhitt; died 1534) was a neighbour, close friend and lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England. She was the wife of Sir Richard Wingfield (widower of Catherine Woodville.) Ironically, a letter written...
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Willsher Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Willsher migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Willsher or a variant listed above:

Willsher Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Willsher, who arrived in New York in 1836 [5]

Australia Willsher migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Willsher Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Willsher, (b. 1814), aged 17, English butcher who was convicted in Essex, England for life for house breaking, transported aboard the "Camden" on 21st March 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. John Willsher, English convict who was convicted in Chelmsford, Essex, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 9th Mary 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [7]


  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/camden
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 26th September 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/fairlie


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