This curious surname has two possible interpretations. Wadlow came about in some cases as Fen people tend to pronounced Waddelow as Wadlow. In the days when few were literate enough to write their own name, the Vicar would write the name as he heard it which accounts for the variety of spellings seen in early parish records. As Vicars tended to come from outside the parish its not surprising that one unfamiliar to the local accent would spell the name as Wadlow
The Wadlow name may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, from Wadlow, a lost place in Toddington, Bedfordshire. The Black Death of 1348, in and the widespread practice of enforced "clearing" and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures from the 15th Century on, were responsible for many villages disappearing over the centuries.
The placename itself is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century "wad", woad, a plant whose leaves yield a powerful blue dye, widely used in the Middle Ages, or the personal name "Wada", the name of a legendary sea-giant, plus "hlaw", a hill. Wadlow, however, may be a variant of Waddow, a locational name from a place in Yorkshire, meaning "Wada's hoh" ("hoh", a projecting ridge of land).
Edmund Waddelowe married Elizabelt Wood on October 10th 1565, at Fincham, Norfolk, while Ann, daughter of Franncis Wadlow, was christened on January 26th 1616, at St. Andrew Undershaft, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Wadelaw, which was dated 1212, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Bedfordshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.
The Waddelow Society is a non profit Family History Group, established in 1988, interested in reasearching the Waddelow/Wadlow name.
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