This unusual and interesting surname, now widely recorded in Church Registers of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from Ladwell, a locality in the Hursley rural district of Hampshire, or from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost " place called Lathwell believed to have been situated in the Invinghoe area of Buckinghamshire because of the high concentration of early surname recordings there. The component elements of the placename are most likely the Olde English pre 7th Century "laett", lath, and "well(a)", well, spring, stream; hence, "stream crossed by a bridge of laths", or "well covered by laths". The prime cause of medieval village disappearance was the enforced clearing of rural settlements, and the consequent dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool-trade from the 14th Century on, along with natural causes, such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. On November 14th 1602, Anna, daughter of Henrici Lathwell, was christened at Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, and on June 15th 1603, John Lathwell married Annis Cooper at St. Andrew's, Plymouth, Devonshire. The marriage of Elizabeth Lathwell to John Harbord took place at Billington, Befordshire, on January 20th 1613. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Lathwell, which was dated May 16th 1596, christened at Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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