This interesting name is of early medieval Welsh origin, deriving from a patronymic form of the surname from the ancient Welsh personal name "Ithel". The given name is composed of the elements "ith", lord, with "hael", generous, and was the name borne by a mid 9th Century king of Gwent; in the 12th Century one Ithel ap Cedifor Wyddel was killed fighting for Owain Gwynedd. The surname Bithel(l) is formed by the fusion of the Welsh patronymic prefix "ap, ab", with the given name. One Nicolas Abithel was recorded in the Register of the University of Oxford in 1560, Valentine Abethel married Elizabeth Fox at St. Lawrence Jewry, London, on April 23rd 1564 and Robert Abethell was a witness at St. Pauls Deptford, London on July 26th 1760 whilst the will of Richard Bythell, innholder, was lodged at Chester in 1635. The modern surname can be found variously as Bethell, Bithell (in Lancashire, particularly), and Bythell. Recordings of the surname include the marriage of Thomas Bithell and Catherine Lingworth at Holy Trinity, Chester, on August 4th 1662, and the christening of William, son of John Bithell, in Wigan, Lancashire, on December 29th 1672. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lewlyn ap Ithel, which was dated 1325, in the "Parliamentary Writs", Radnorshire, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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