Recorded in several forms as shown below, this interesting name has a number of possible origins. The first of these is Norman-French from the village of Bouelles in the department of Seine Martime. It was introduced into England after the famous Conquest of 1066. It derives from the word "boelle", meaning an area cleared for agriculture. The recording of Walter de Bowell in the Hundred Rolls of Hertfordshire in 1275 is from this source. Secondly, the modern surname, which can be found as Bawle, Bawles, Bolle, Bolles, Bowell, Bowells, Bowle and Bowles, may be Welsh from a fusing of Ap or Ab Howell, meaning the son of Howell, and found sometimes as Powell or Powles, as well as the Bawle, Bowell and Bowles forms. Thirdly the surname may be a form of Bowl, an English medieval occupational name for a maker or seller of bowls and buckets. This occupation is a derivative of 'bolle' meaning 'a vessel for containing liquids'. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and became hereditary when a son followed his father into the same occupation. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Boweles. This was dated 1292, in the court records of Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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