This interesting and most unusual surname, found chiefly in East Anglia, is a diminutive, pet, form of "Paul", from the Latin personal name "Paulus", meaning small, which has always been popular in Christendom. Paul was the name adopted by the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus after his conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus in the year 34 B.C., and was already a surname by the 12th Century, as Haldanus Paulus is recorded in 1182, in the Pipe Rolls of Suffolk. The popularity of the personal name is borne out by the number of diminutive, patronymic and variant surnames it has generated.However, in a few instances the name may be a variant of "Pawley", a Norman locational name from "Pavilly" in Seine-Maritime, so called from the Gallo-Roman personal name "Pavilius", and the local suffix "-acum". The surname first appears in records in the late 13th Century (see below), while Marjorie Pawley is recorded in 1515, in Kent Wills. Alice, daughter of John Powley, was christened on January 12th 1619, at Lougham, in Norfolk. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Pauly, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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