This interesting and unusual surname, recorded in English church registers under the variant spellings Mevell, Mivill, Mavil, Movall etc., is believed to be of French locational origin from any of the various places in Normandy called Malleville, for example Malleville in Pays de Caux. The place was so called from the Old French "mal" meaning "bad" or "poor" referring to the poor quality of the soil in the area, plus "ville", a settlement. On February 13th 1602, Thomas Mevell and Joane Haukes were married in Berry Pomeroy, Devonshire, and on October 6th 1747, John Mavel married a Marie Peter in Horsham, Sussex Philip Movall, an infant, was christened in St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London, on June 17th 1753, and on November 7th 1762, Henry Mavil married an Alice Evard in Salcombe Regis, Devonshire. The marriage of Sarah Mivall and Thomas Pateshall took place in St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London, on February 19th 1865. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Galfridus de Malveill, which was dated circa 1161, Charters of the Holy Cross", Edinburgh, during the reign of Malcolm 1V of Scotland, 1153 - 1165. 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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