This name is of locational origin from any of the various places called Woodhall, for example, Woodhall in Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, also in East Lothian and Dumfriesshire. The name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "wuda", a wood, plus "hall", a hall - usually referring to a hall for a forest court. The second element, in some instances, may be the Old English "hale", meaning a secret place, nook or recess. The surname is first recorded towards the end of the 12th Century (see below). Jordan de la Wodehalle and Adam de Wodhal appear in Yorkshire County Records in 1265 and 1379 respectively. John of Wodhaw, witness in Peebles, is the first recorded Scottish namebearer. In 1613 Thomas Woodall of Hertfordshire and Alice Jeffereys were married in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter de (of) Wudehale, which was dated 1193, "The Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.