This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any one of the places called Caldwell in North Yorkshire and Warwickshire, Cauldwell in Bedfordshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and other places named with the same elements such as Chadwell and Chardwell. The place in Yorkshire is recorded as "Caldeuuella" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and shares with all the other places mentioned the same meaning and derivation, which is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cald", "ceald", cold, with "well", "wella" a spring, stream or well; hence "cold stream". The surname is also found in Scotland, where it appears in the late 12th Century (see below). Richard de Coldewell is noted in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns (1379). There are a great many variants of the modern surname ranging from Caldwell, Cau(l)dwell, Caldwall and Cawdell to Couldwell and Cholwell. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Robert Coldwell and Agnes Hanshawe on May 1st 1547, at the Church of St. Mary le Bow; and the christening of Nycolas Coldwell on October 10th 1555, at the Church of St. James's, Garlickhithe. A Coat of Arms granted to the Coldwell family is a blue shield with a silver cross moline. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Caldwella, which was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls of Derbyshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, 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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