This name is an interesting patronymic (son of) form of the name Ralph, itself from an Olde Norse personal name 'raethulf' composed of the elements 'rarth' counsel, and 'wolf', wolf. The name was introduced into England before the Norman invasion of 1066, from Scandinavia. It was very common as a personal name, Latinized as Radulfus in the 12th Century, but was rarely used as a surname until the following century, where it is found extensively in many forms eg. Ralfe, Rafe, Raff, Rawle, Rawll, Rawles, Ralphs. In London, on 27th June 1737 one Peter Rolls married Mary Carter at Southwark, and one John Ralls, son of John and Elenor Rolls, was christened on 16th July 1776, at St. Botolph-without-Aldgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Raules, which was dated 1327, Subsidy Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Edward III, The Father of the Navy, 1327 - 1377. 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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