Recorded as Roll, Roul, Rule, the patronymics Rolls and Rolles, and others as shown below, this is an ancient English surname, It originates from the male given name Rollo, a Latinized form of the Norman Roul and Rolf. The ultimate origin lies in the Germanic name Hrolf, a compound of the elements "hrod" meaning renown and "wulf"- a wolf. This surname seems to have reached England by two separate channels; partly through it's popularity among the Normans, partly through earlier pre Conquest Scandinavian-Viking settlers.The name dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Robert Role in the Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1272, and Matilda Rolles in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire in 1279. Other forms of splling include Row, Rowes, Rowe, Rolfe and Roles. Other recording examples include John Rowles who married Agnet Fetherstone on November 13th 1541, at St. Stephen Wallbrook and Mary Rowles who was christened at St. Andrew's Holborn on April 4th 1575. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robertus Rolfi in tghe famous Domesday Book for the county of Leicestershire in 1086. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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