This picturesque name is of medieval English origin and is locational from places so called in Buckinghamshire and Somerset. Rockwell End in Buckinghamshire was formerly known as Rockhole and so derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "hroc", rook, with "hole", a wood, whereas Rockwell Green in Somerset has the Old English "well(a)", a spring or stream as a second element. During the Middle Ages, as it became more customary for people to migrate further afield to seek work, they would often adopt or be given the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Amongst the sample recordings in Buckinghamshire is the christening of Gratia Rockwell on June 3rd 1586 at Hughenden. In the modern idiom the variants include Rookwell, Rockwill and Rockewell. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Rockwell, marriage to Honor Newton, which was dated July 19th 1585, Fitzhead, Somerset, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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