This interesting and unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and belongs to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. The English surnames Favill and Favel are cognate with the French "Fauve" and "Fauvel", nicknames respectively from the Old French "fauve", tawny, denoting someone with a dusky complexion, or from the Old French "favel", story, tale, the name borne by a cunning horse in a popular medieval cycle of beast tales, and subsequently given as a nickname to a quick-witted or devious person. Early examples of the surname include: Rannulf Fauuel (Herefordshire, 1195) and William Fauel (Wiltshire, 1346). On June 22nd 1617, John, son of William Favill, was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a black shield with a gold chevron between three silver escallops, the Crest being a sword in pale supporting a maunch proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eudo Faluel, which was dated 1160, in the "Book of Seals for Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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