The county of Stafford has some fascinating surnames, all of whom owe their origin to the Domesday Book of 1086 which first mentions 'Geneshale' now known as 'Gnosall' (village). The development of this name is in effect the development of the surname the village recordings being Gnoushale in 1165, Gnodeshall in 1199 and Gnoushal in 1221. The meaning is obsure but is believed to be 'the place (halh) of Gneap' the latter being an Anglo-Saxon personal name which derived from the German 'Gnupwa'. The variant spellings include Gosnel (1715), Gosnoll (1793), Gosnol (1808), Gosnell (1727), Gosnal (1750), Gosnold (1827), Gosnall (1747), Gnosill (1705), Gnosil (1815), Gnosell (1822) etc.. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Guilialemi Gnosall, which was dated 1668, married Elizabeth Thae at Mavesn Ridware, during the reign of King Charles II, 'The Merry Monarch', 1660 - 1685. 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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