This interesting surname is from the Middle English personal names Alwin, Alfwin and Elwin, and represents a coalescence of various old English pre 7th Century given names; "Aelfwine" from "aelf" an elf and "wine" a friend; hence "elf-friend", "Aethelwine" a noble friend, and "Ealdwine" an old friend. The personal names Alduin, Elduinus, Aeluuin, Alfuuinus and Aluuinus all appear in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname first appears in the late 12th Century, (see below). John Allewin is registered in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire (1219) and Christina Aldwyne is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire (1275).Other examples of the variant spellings include; Elizabeth Alwyn who married William Browne, on September 1544, at St. Mary's, Woolnoth, London; on October 10th 1591, Joane Alwyne married James Eaton, at St. Giles, Cripplegate, and Jane Allwen married Samson Hopkins, on August 10th 1609, at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. In the modern idiom the name is found as Alwin, Alwen, Alwyn, Allwyn, Elwin, Elwyn and Alywin. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osegod Aldwini, which was dated 1195, Pipe Rolls of Berkshire, 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.
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