This interesting surname, with variant spellings Bold, Boud, Boulde, Bowld and Bould, may derive from a number of possible sources. Firstly, it may be of Olde English pre 7th century origins and derive from the world 'beald' meaning 'courageous'. In the first instance this may have been a semi-nickname for a warrior, but eventually it became a baptismal name of endearment. Secondly it may have originated as a residential surname for one who lived at a 'bold'. This was a Norse-Viking word for a small manor house or farm. In addition it has also given its name to two places, 'Bold' in Lancashire, and 'The Bold', a hamlet in Staffordshire. There are a number of very early recordings, and these include Henry Bolde in the Assize Court rolls of the county of Kent in 1317, Henry le Bold in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1327, and William Bould in the Friary Rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1428. Robert Attebolde in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire may have come from the village of the same name, whilst the first name holder below, almost certainly did. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Bolde, which was dated 1199, a witness at the Assize Court of Stafford, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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