This unusual surname is of medieval Welsh origin, and derives from the Welsh personal byname "Annwyl", from "annwyl", dear, beloved. The use of this adjective (as a naming epithet) is mainly confined to North Wales, but some examples are also found in the southern counties. St. John is often described in Welsh as "y disgybl annwyl", the favourite or beloved disciple, and a quotation from the Burial Registers of Llandewi Rhydderch, Monmouthshire, reads "Mary vach anwill, a pauper, was buried on April 5th 1697". The following examples, showing several variations and spellings, are of the fixed epithet acting as a surname: Gr Anwill - "A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds"; Gregory ap David Annwill (Flintshire), and David Annewill (Egnon), noted in "Exchequer Proceedings concerning Wales in tempore James 1 (1603 - 1625)". In the modern idiom, the name is spelt: Anwell, Annwell, Anavells, Anniwell and Anwyl. On February 17th 1602, Margery Anavells and Siluester Kemms or Lewes (as written) were married in Painswick, Gloucestershire, and on July 17th 1853, triplets, Mary Ann, Thomas, and William, children of Thomas and Sarah Anniwell, were christened at Barton-in-the-Clay, Bedfordshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jeuan ap Madog Anwyll, which was dated 1406, in "Medieval Records of Wales", during the reign of King Henry 1V, known as "Henry of Bolingbroke", 1399 - 1413. 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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