This uncommon and interesting name has a number of different sources, each with its own distinct derivation. Firstly, it may be of Norman French origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066, and an Anglicized form of the Norman locational surname de Bolville, from the place so called in Normandy. Secondly, the surname may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name for some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place believed to have been situated in Wiltshire and named with the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "bol", trunk, plank, and "waella, well(a)"; spring, stream. The placename refers to the site of a primitive bridge. Finally, Bolwell may be a variant form of the locational surname Bulwell, from the place so called in Nottinghamshire. The placename is recorded in the Domesday of 1086 as "Bulwelle", and is derived from the Olde English personal name "Bula", or "bula", bull, in Middle English "bul(l)e, bol(l)e", with "waella" as before. The surname Bolwell, also found as Bolwill and Bollweel, is found particularly in the south western counties of England, and examples from Church Registers include: the marriage of John Bolwell and Edythe Smithe, at Trowbridge, in Wiltshire, on September 25th 1567, and the christening of Margaret Bolwell on October 3rd 1570, at Overmoigne, in Dorset. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of de Bolvill (no first name given), which was dated circa 1250, in "Medieval Records of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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