This interesting name is of locational origin from a place so called in the former county of Lanarkshire, Scotland (now part of the Strathclyde region). The name derives from the Middle English 'both(e)', bothy or small hut plus well(a), spring or stream, hence 'a hut by a stream'. The surname is popular in Scotland and in Ulster, Ireland. The surname was first recorded at the end of the 12th Century (see below). In medieval times in Scotland, the name was spelt Boduel, whence the present variant Bodell in Ulster. In 1342, Richard de Botheuile was provost of Aberdeen, 'Exchequer Rolls of Scotland', 1264-1600. An early recording of the name is found in Orkney, one John of Boduel was a grant witness in 1369. William Bothwell was christened on January 10th 1675 in Edinburgh. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Bothvile (grant witness), which was dated 1190, 'Charters of the Hospital of Soltre', Trinity College Edinburgh, during the reign of King William, 'The Lion', 1165-1214. 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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