This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it may be derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sige", meaning victory, or from "sae", meaning "sea", and "weald", signifying rule. These names, "Sigeweald" and "Saeweald", were to give rise to the medieval personal names "Siwal(d)" and "Sewal(d)" respectively. The personal name "Sauualdus" occurs in the Domesday Book of 1086. Secondly, the surname Saywell is locational from a number of places in England, including Sewell in Bedfordshire, and Sywell in Northamptonshire, all named from the Olde English "seofon", seven, and "wella", meaning "a spring"; hence, "seven spring". Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include Roger Sewale, who was listed in the 1275 Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include the christening of Alyce, daughter of Robarte Saywell, on March 10th 1577, at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Sewald, which was dated 1220, in "Liber Feodurum", Berkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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