Recorded in the spellings of Beastall, Bestall, Bestwall and the dialectals Beswell and Biswell, this is an English locational surname. We believe that it originates from the village of Bestwell in the county of Dorset, where various early recordings have been found, but it is just as likely to originate from a now 'lost' medieval village. Many British surnames do originate from places of which the only public record in the late 20th century is the surname, often as with this one, in a wide variety of recordings. The place name is believed to derive from the descriptive phrase of 'by the east wall', however we suggest that another meaning may be 'the cattle barn' from the Olde English pre 7th century 'beste - halh', or even 'beste - waella', the place where the cattle drank. The village is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Beastwelle' which would give credence to the latter speculation. Examples of recordings taken from surviving church registers include: Ellin Bestle, at St Botolphs church, Bishopgate, city of London, on April 21st 1594, John Biswell of Long Burton, Dorset, on August 5th 1602, and Thomas Beastall, the son of Edward Beastall, christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on December 16th 1730.
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