This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any one of the places called 'Broadwell' in the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. The first two of these are recorded as 'Bradewelle' in the Domesday Book of 1086, while that in Warwickshire appears in the 1130 Pipe Rolls of the county as 'Bradewella'. The placename means 'the broad stream of spring', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'brad', broad, and 'welk, waella', a well , spring or stream.Locational surnames were usually given to the lord of the manor and to those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area. An early variant of the name, as in Margery Brodwell (1587, Gloucestershire), may still be found as a modern surname. John Broadwell married Mary Heyward at Tirley in Gloucestershire in June 1689. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Izabell Broadwell (christening), which was dated 1st December 1561, St. Giles's, Cripplegate, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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