Recorded in several forms including Rosewall, Rosewell, Roswell, and Rowswell, this is an English but it is said, specifically Cornish surname. It is locational from the hamlet of Rosewall in the parish of Towednack. The derivation is from the Cornish elements "res" meaning "ford or shallow water" plus "gwall", meaning a rampart or defensive wall. The placename is recorded in the year 1327 in the form Ryswal. The surname dates back to the late 16th Century, (see below). Church recordings include one Robert Roswell was christened on September 20th 1607 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, John Roswell married Jane Woodward on October 25th 1628 also at St. Dunstan's, Stepney and William Rowswell married Elizabeth Gifford on January 18th 1693 at St. James, Dukes Place, London. One Samuel Rosewell (1679 - 1722) was divine. He was ordained in 1705, and was a lecturer at Founders Hall, Lothbury, London (1713 - 1719). A coat of arms was granted to a Rowswell family of Ford Abbey, Devonshire, which consists of a shield divided vertically red and blue, a silver lion rampant with a double tail, the crest being a silver lions head couped. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rychard Rowswell witnessed the christening of his daughter Barbara, which was dated 1571, St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, London, 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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