This interesting and curious surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the places called Gadshill (Kent), recorded as "Godeshyll" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles in 973; Godshill (Isle of Wight), which appears as "Godesmanescamp" in the Domesday Book of 1086; or Godshill (Wiltshire), found as "Godeshull" in the Episcopal Registers of circa 1270. These placenames are composed of either the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Goda", Good, or "god", god, plus the Olde English "-hyll", a hill. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname first appears in records in the early 13th Century (see below), while one Hugh de Godeshull is recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Hampshire in 1230. Other early examples include Thomas de Godeshelle, mentioned in the "Letter Books of London" in 1309, and Richard Godeshulle, who appears in the Sussex Subsidy Rolls of 1327. James Godsell married Sarah Dixon on October 13th 1682, at St. Mary Magdalene's, Old Fish Street, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a gold cross botonee on a black shield, and a Crest showing an arm erect holding a spade proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Godeshill, which was dated 1225, in the "Assize Court Rolls of Somersetshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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