This interesting surname with variant spellings Kenewell, Kennewell, Keniwell, Kenswell, etc., is of English locational origin, being a dialectal variant of Kentwell in Suffolk which is recorded as Kanewella in the Domesday Book of 1086. Kentwell is not far from the Glem and may be an old name of the river. If so, the original name was Kennet, (old English pre 7th Century "Cynete") plus the old English "wella" meaning "stream". Church records of Lancashire suggest that the name moved to the North in the late 16th Century for example one Anthonye Keniwell was christened in 1599 in Bottesford, Lincolnshire. London church records include one Samuel, son of Richard Kenewell, who was christened on October 9th 1642 at St. Katherine by-the-Tower, William, son of Richard Kenewell, who was christened on April 7th 1644 also at St. Katherine by-the-Tower and Charles, son of John and Elizabeth Kenewell who was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate on April 1st 1699. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Kentewelle, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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