This interesting surname with variant spelling Rolls and Rolles is a patronymic form of the male given name Rollo, itself a Latinized form of the Norman Roul, equivalent to the Middle English personal name Rolf. The ultimate origin lies in the Germanic Hrolf, a compound of the elements "hrod" meaning "renown" plus "wulf" "wolf". This surname seems to have reached England by two separate channels; partly through it's popularity among the Normans, partly through it's use among Conquest Scandinavian settlers. The name date's back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Robert Role (1279) "The Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire", and Matilda Rolles (1279) "The Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Row, Rowes, Rowe, Rolls, Rolfe, Roles, etc.. John Rowles married Agnet Fetherstone on November 13th 1541, at St. Stephen's, London, and Mary, daughter of James Rowles was christened at St. Andrew's, Holborn on April 4th 1575. One, Henrie Rowles, an emigrant, sailed aboard the Amitie bound for Barbados on October 13th 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Chieneive, which was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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