This is an English locational surname. According to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley, Popplewell is or apparently was, as there does not appear to be a record of it in any current gazetters of the British Isles, a hamlet in the parish of Heckmondwike, in Spen Valley region of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The name means 'the spring near the poplar trees', from the Olde English pre 7th century 'popple-waella'. The village of Poppleton just north of the county city of York has the similar meaning of 'the farm by the poplars'. The surname is ancient being twice recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls for Yorkshire, during the resign of the ill fated King Richard 11nd, 1377 - 1379. The recordings are those of Thomas Popilwell of Cleckheaton, and Johannes de Popilwell of Heckmondwike. It is said that nameholders still appear in the electors lists for the Spen Valley even in the late 20th century, which for such a relatively rare surname, must be almost unique.
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