This most interesting and ancient surname has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be of locational origin, from Godshill in Hampshire and Wiltshire, the former recorded as "Godesmanescamp" in the Domesday Book of 1086, while the latter place appears as "Godeshull" in 1270 in the Episcopal Registers. The placenames themselves have the same derivation, both translating as "God's hill", composed of a short form of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Godmann", from "god", good, with "mann", man, and "hyll", a hill.However, the surname may also have originated as a nickname for a "good soul", that is an honest fellow, from the Olde English "god", good, and "sawol", soul. The surname from the latter source is first recorded in the mid 12th Century (see below), while from the former it first appears in 1225, when one Hugh de Godeshill is recorded in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset. One William God saule is mentioned in 1197, in the Feet of Fines of Norfolk. Other early examples include Ralph Godsoule (Yorkshire, 1219); Amicia Godsol (Cambridgeshire, 1279); and Richard Godeshulle (Sussex, 1327). Margaret Sarah Goodsall married Robert Cook on April 23rd 1798, at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwin Gotsaule, which was dated circa 1150, in Ekwall's "Early London Personal Names", during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. 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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