Recorded in a number of spellings including Ludhill, Ludell and Ludwell, this surname is of late medieval English origins. It is locational from either the village of Ludwell in the county of Derbyshire, recorded as Loduuelle in the famous Domesady Book of 1086, or Ludwell, a village near Shaftesbury in Wiltshire first recorded as Ludewell in the tax registers known as the 'Feet of Fines' in the year 1194. Ludwell Hill, now part of the city of London, may also have been an origin of the surname, as the greatest concentration of church recordings is to be found in the city of London. According to the Dictionary of English Place Names, the derivation in all cases is from the pre 7th century Olde English word "hlude" meaning loud, with "hlaw", a hill; and hence "the loud (or rapid) river by the hill". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. In this case early examples of recordings taken from surviving registers of the Elizabethan period include: Thomas Ludwell, a witness at St Antholins church, Budge Row, and Ann Ludwell, who married Francis Cockwell at St Sepulchre church on February 3rd 1566, both in the city of London.
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