WALL surname origins (source geocities.com 6-18-11)
The surname WALL is one of the most notable Anglo Saxon surnames, and its historical trail has emerged from the mists of time to become an influencial name of the middle ages and of the present day.
In an in-depth research of such ancient manuscripts as the Domesday Book compiled in 1086 A.D., by Duke William of Normandy, the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296) collected by King Edward 1st of England, the Curla Regis Rolls, the Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals and tax records, the first record of the name WALL is in Gloucestershire where they were seated from ancient times and appeared as holders of lands in the Domesday Book.
The Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames defines WALL as being local or at the wall or stranger.
The Dictionary of American Family Names defines WALL as a dweller at or near a wall.
The Irish Families, Their Names, Arms, and Origins states that WALL is from the Anglo Saxon WAL, meaning a stranger. It is Norman in origin, with the earlies form being duVAL, meaning of the valley. Wall was introduced into Ireland by the Normans in 1169. They settled in the south of Ireland and held estates in Waterford and Cork. The family seat was at Coolnamuck, Waterford. The Walls have been in Ireland since the 13th century, first appearing as de Vale. Three bishops in the 14th century bore the name.
The WALL family name dates back to Normandy, France where the name was originally de Val or de Valle. The de Val clan came from Scandinavia about 750. Members of the de Val family migrated to England and pared down the name to WALL. William the Conquerer had sent the de Vals to England to act as spies prior to his invasion from St Valery, Normandy with 12,000 men on Sep 27, 1066. When the Normans invaded, the de Vals' refused to fight and changed their name to Wall to hide thier identity. Many were persecuted and executed for refusing to fight. They settled and lived for centuries in Gloucestershire around Stroud and Dursley.
Many different spellings have been researched including WALL, WALLS, WALE, and WALLES, all different spellings occurred frenquently, even between father and son. There is one instance of a father and eight sons, all buried in the same graveyard and all with different spellings. This was due mainly to church officials and scribes writing the name as it was told to them.
The name WALL emerged as a notable English name in the county of Gloucestershire where they were seated at Bristol and were lords of the manor. In 1172 William de Wall accompanied Strongbow , Earl of Pembroke on his invasion of Ireland, and was granted lands in Johnstown in Limerick county. He died in 1210 leaving four sons who became heads of distinguished WALL families in Ireland.
In England there are Wall family lines in Bristol, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Derby, and Hertfordshire. Many in Gloucestershire were stone masons who did the stone carvings on churches. Others were involved in the textile trade.
In 1650 Cromwell burned the church in Dursley, Gloustershire, destroying most of the Wall records and genealogy.
For the next two or three centuries bearers of the name WALL flourished and played a significant part in the political development of England. Kinsmen of the name WALL were amongst those who sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships know as the "White Sails" which sailed the Atlantic.
Some of the first WALL family to immigrate to America arrived in Calvert County, Maryland in the 1600s. They settled at a spot where the Patuxent river empties into the Chesapeake Bay, 40 miles from Washington, DC. There, they established the town of Wallville, MD which is still in existence.
In the 1700s, the Wall family moved into Virginia around Surry County, Dinwiddle County, and Prince George County. Wall family members migrated into Rutherford County and Wilkes County, North Carolina in the late 1700s. From there, WALL members settled in Tennessee, South Carolina, and Kentucky and other regions of the country.
Some of the Walls of England left in the 1700s and early 1800s because of the collapse of the textile industry (mostly woolen).
A number of Wall family members lived in Rutherford County, NC in the early 1800s, then moved to east Tennessee around the 1830s.