Recorded in several forms including Colvill, Colville, and Colwill, this is an English surname. It has two possible origins, both locational. The first may be from either of two places called Colwell in the counties of Northumberland and Devonshire. The former is recorded Colewell in the tax charters known as the 'Feet of Fines' in the year 1236, and the latter as Colewille in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The former placename derives from the Old English pre 7th century word "col", meaning either charcoal or cool as in cold water, plus "weala", meaning a spring or stream, whilst the latter place in Devonshire gets it's first element from the river "Coly", being situated on a tributary of that river. The second possible origin is French, and again locational, but this time from "Colleville," a place in the departement of Seine-Maritime. In this case the translation is "Koli-ville", meaning Koli's settlement, with Koli being an early Norse personal name. Early examples of the surname recording include Walter de Colevile in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1273, whilst Samuel Colwell was granted a ticket to sail aboard the ketch "William and Susan" bound for New England, on March 21st 1678. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Colevil. This was dated 1272, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. 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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