Recorded as Roule, Rule, Rhule, and Ruwel this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. If Scottish it is locational from the lands of Rule in the parish of Hobkirk, Roxburghshire. The derivation is from the River Rule which flows through the area, and is so called from the ancient Welsh word "rhull" meaning "hasty or rushing". The surname from this source is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below), and other examples include Thomas de Roule who rendered homage to John Balliol in 1296 whilst an Adam de Roul made a grant of four acres of land in Molle to the monks of Kelso in the year 1300. The name was spelt Ruwell in Records of Dundee, dated 1348 and Rowle in "Ancient Charters of the Earldom of Morten", dated 1376. In England the name was a derivation from thepersonal name Rollo, and an example was William Rule who embarked from London on October 13th 1635, settling in St. Christophers, in the Barbados, whilst Gilbert Rule of Scotland (1629 - 1701) was principal of Edinburgh University in 1690. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Rule, which was dated 1214, a charter witness in the "Episcopal Register of Glasgow", during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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