This rare and interesting name is of Medieval French origin and is the diminutive form of the surname Dowse, (the "ell", denoting "little" or "son of"), which is a nickname surname given to a pleasant natured person, and derives from the Old French "dol" or "dous", and the Latin "dulcis", meaning sweet. It was also in occasional use as a female given name in the Middle Ages and some examples may derive from this. Many French names were introduced into Britain after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and it is likely that this name is no exception, as there are no earlier recordings. The following examples illustrate the name development, Geoffrey Duz (1200, London), Gilbert le Dus, Godfrey le Douz (1296, Sussex), Walter Dous (1327, Worcester) and Joshua Dowzell who was christened in St. Andrew's, Holborn, on February 10th 1722. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Duce, which was dated 1200, Oseney, Oxford, during the reign of King John known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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