Last name: Towle

This intriguing name is of Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Scandinavian origin, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century given name "Toll", or the Old Norse "Toli", which in Middle English became combined to give "Toll(e)", as in the recording of one Tolle le grangier, in the Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire of 1218. The Olde English personal name has a now obscure etymology, but is thought to be cognate with the Old Norse "Toli", itself derived from a short form of a compound given name such as "Thorleifr" or "Thorleikr", composed of the divine name "Thor" (the name of the god of thunder in Scandinavian mythology), and "leifr", relic, or "leikr", sport, play, respectively. These given names are also to be found as the first element of various English placenames, such as Thurleston (Leicestershire and Warwickshire) and Tollerton (Nottinghamshire), which have "Thorleifr", and Thurloxton (Somerset), which has "Thorleikr". The modern surname derived from "Toll(e)" has a number of variant forms, ranging from Towle, Towell and Towll, to Toole, Tole and Toll. The marriage of Richard Towell and Joane Franck was recorded at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London, on April 30th 1564, while in North America, Ebenezer Towell was a witness at the christening of his son, also Ebenezer, at the New York First Presbyterian Church, on May 21st 1775. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Tolle, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.

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