It has often been argued that the name Wessel or van Wessel
may have come from the Hanzetown of Wesel in Germany. The town
has three weasels (German Wiesel) in it's coat of arms, but
despite the common occurance of weasels along this part of the
Rhein, it probably has little to do with the origin of the name
Wesel. The name Wiesel and Wesel just happen to sound slightly
similar. The Weasel was introduced during a period when animals
were a popular choise in coats of arms. Paul Bernds (in "Wesel,
Lebendige Stadtgeschichte", Part 1) suggests that the town
of Wesel is clearly older than the first known use of the coat
Bernds explains that the oldest known form of Wesel is 'Wisele'
or 'Wesele' from 11th and 12th century Latin
documents (e.g. the villa Wisele is mentioned
in a document from the monastery in Echternach, Luxemburgh.
It confirms King Heinrich IV's return of the 9th century wooden
church and the villa Wisele to the Monastery of Echternach).
'Wese' or 'wise' translates to Wiese (Weide) which means meadow
and sel or sal translates to Siedlung or settlement. The villa
Wisele implies that there must have been a large house or farm.
This villa in it's meadows or fields adds up to a small estate,
the estate of Wesel. (Information taken from the Wesel
Please note that the earliest references to the hamlet
near Barneveld mention Wehsle (1146) and Wesle
(1183). These names are close but not identical, so we cannot
simply assume that in the 12th century the name Wessel and Wesel
referred to the same place.