This unusual name is of French origin, introduced into England at the end of the 17th Century when there was the second of the great influxes of French and Flemish Huguenot refugees into England escaping religious persecution on the continent, following Louis XIV revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The name was originally 'La Vielle', evidenced by the records of the christenings of the children of Pierre and Anne Lavielle. Their daughter, Anne Madellene (see below) was the first to have the name recorded in its anglicised form.Christolfe, christened in March 1710, at the French Huguenot Church of St. Jean, in Spitalfields, is recorded with his parents as 'La Ville'. The name means 'old woman', refering to a village elder, a term of respect for an old, wise woman. One Adam Lavall was christened on the 26th June 1757 at Putney, in West London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Madellene Laval, christened, which was dated 15th October 1704, Glasshouse Street, French Huguenot Church, London, during the reign of Queen Anne, known as the Last Stuart Monarch, 1702 - 1714. 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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