This unusual surname, recorded as Piwall, Piwell, and Pywell is of pre 7th century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon origins, and a dialectal developement of the surname "Pile". It is almost certainly a topographical surname given to someone who lived near a "pil", a stake or post which had been placed to serve as a landmark or boundary marker. The derivation is from the from the Latin "pilum", meaning a spike, or possibly a javelin. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.However the Roman occasional meaning of javelin, may suggest that the development of the surname as Pywell or Piwell, was a medieval nickname given to a good javelin thrower. However this is not proven. Early examples of the surname recordings include Robert Attepile in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Somerset in 1274; and Walter atte Pyle, listed in the Exchequer Lay Subsidy Rolls of London in 1327. The recordings in the church registers include Thomas Piwell, christened at St Dionis Backchurch, city of London, on October 23rd 1579, and Anne Pywell, the daughter of John Pywell, also christened at the same church, but on January 24th 1585. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de la Pil, which was dated 1221, in the "Calendar of Patent Rolls of Somersetshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272.
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