Recorded in several forms including Lodwell, Loudwell and Lowdwell, this is an English surname. It is locational and is either a variant form of the Devonshire village name Loddiswell, or more likely is one of the group of surnames which originate from some now "lost" medieval village, of which the only apparent reminder in the 20th century is the surviving surname. Certainly there does not appear to be such a place recorded in any of the known surname spellings in the gazetters, even those going back some three centuries. This may be because if such a place exists it is too small to be recorded, or that the original spelling has changed either of the surname or the village name, to the point where there is no recognition. "Lost" villages are a phenomena of the British Isles. It is estimated that at least five thousand surnames do originate from such places. As to why they disappeared is a subject in itself, but in England it was usually because of changes in agricultural practice, particularly the introduction of sheep which required far fewer workers, although the various plagues of the Middle Ages such as the Black Death of 1348 or even war, have played their part. The surname spelling suggests that the origin is the pre 7th century Olde English "hlud" meaning loud, and "waella", a spring or branch of a river, or possibly even, a waterfall. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Steven Lowdwell, who married Elizabeth Gardiner at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on July 5th 1649, and William Loudwell, who was a witness at St Pancras Old Church, on December 8th 1848.
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