This rare and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Pedwell, a hamlet near Bridgewater in Somerset, which was recorded as "Pedewelle" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Pedewell" in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset in 1201 and 1243. The placename itself is composed of the initial element "Peoda", an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name, and the second element the Olde English "wiell, waella", a well, spring or stream, a common element in English placenames; hence "Peoda's stream". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often used their former village name as a means of identification, resulting in a wide dispersal of the name in a number of variant forms. John Pidwel was christened at Hartland, Devonshire, on April 4th 1565, while Johes, son of Edmundi and Katherine Pidwell, was christened on September 22nd 1622, at Breage, Cornwall. Other recordings include the christening of Joan, daughter of Petter and Mary Pidwell, on August 17th 1704, at Truro, Cornwall, and Mary Pidwell, listed in the Church Register of St. Mary Magdalene's, Taunton in Somerset, in 1747. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Pidwell, which was dated 1563, a christening witness at Hartland in Devonshire, 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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