Recorded as Rawdall, Rawdale, Rawdales, Rawdell, and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It apparently originates from a now 'lost' medieval village or locality, no such place in any of the known surname spellings being recorded in the gazetters of the British Isles for the past three centuries. The name is probably a development of the pre 7th century Olde English word 'ra' meaning deer and 'dael', a steep sided valley, but even this is uncertain. As a general rule place names including the word 'dael' are of North Country origin, but even this information has not enabled us to positively identify the site. 'Lost' village names giving rise to surnames are not uncommon in Britain, and it is estimated that at least three thousand surnames do originate from places of which the only surviving public reminder even of its former existence, is the surviving surname. Examples of the surname recording are rare in the city of London, the earliest being that of John and Hester Rawdall at the church of St Margaret Pattens on September 11th 1702, whilst further afield and slightly earlier we have that of Elizabeth Rawdell who married Thomas Horsfall at Heptonstall in Yorkshire, on Christmas Day, 1672.
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