Recorded in several forms including Saul, Saull, Sawl and the diminutive Sawkin, plus the diminutives and patronymic Sawkins, Sawkens and Sakins, this is an English surname. It originates from the given name Saul, itself from the ancient Hebrew Shaul, meaning "The asked-for (child)", and the name of a king of Israel whose story is recounted in the first book of Samuel. In spite of his success in uniting Israel and his military prowess, Saul had a troubled reign, not least because of his long conflict with the young David, who eventually succeeded him. Perhaps for this reason, the given name was not particularly popular in medieval times, hence the surname as well is comparatively rare. Dating from the mid 13th Century (see below), early recordings include John Saule in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex in 1296. Later recordings taken from the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Leonard Saull, who married Margery Martin at St. Bartholomew the Less, on March 31st 1580, and Christopher Sawkins, a witness at the church known as St James Clerkenwell, on May 16th 1593. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any spelling is probably that of Ralph Saule. This was dated 1255, in the charters known as the "Cartularium monasterii de Rameseia" for the county of Huntingdonshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1292. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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