Recorded in several forms including Haliwell, Hallwell, Hallewell, Holwell, Holywell, Holliwell, and others this is an English surname of medieval origins. It is locational from any of various places which describe a "holy well". These include Halliwell in Lancashire, Holwell in Dorset and Oxfordshire, which are recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as Halegewelle and Haliwell, Halwell and Halwill in Devonshire, recorded as Halgewilla in 1086, and Holywell in the counties of Flint (North Wales), as well as Northumberland, Kent, Cambridgeshire and Cornwall.Locational surnames were originally given to the Lord of the Manor and his descendants, or as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include Martin de Halgewelle of Devonshire, in 1275, and Editha atte Holywelle of Somerset, in 1327. Later church register recordings include that on January 7th 1710, of Ann Hallewell, who was christened at St. Margaret Lothbury, in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osbert de Holiwell. This was dated 1201 a.d, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Suffolk, during the reign of King John 1199 - 1216. He was known to history as "Lackland", a sort of in-family joke of his father King Henry 11nd, because as the younger son he was not expected to inherit the throne. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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