Recorded in several forms incling Boswell, Buswell, Busswell and Baswell, this is an Anglo-Scottish medieval surname, but unusually perhaps, of French locational origins. It is a name that was introduced by a follwer of Duke William of Normandy after the Invasion of England in 1066, and later into Scotland. It originates from the town of Beuzeville, in the department of Seine Martime, Normandy. The placename means "the village or settlement of Beuze", the derivation being from the Old French personal name "Beuze", itself of Germanic orign from "boese" or "bose", meaning "reckless", plus "ville", meaning settlement or village. In Britain the final element has over the years become transposed, because of the more familiar English place name ending of "well", originally describing a spring or mountain stream. Amongst the famous nameholders associated with the surname was James Boswell (1740 - 1795), the biographer of Dr. Johnson. He descended from Roger de Bosvil, who held lands in Fife, Scotland, in the 13th Century. Boswell, Buswell and Baswall are the modern-day forms of the surname. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Boesavilla. This was dated 1130, in the Staffordshire County Records, and during the reign of King Henry lst of England, known as 'The Lion of Justice', 1100 - 1135. 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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