This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible meanings, the first being, that it derives from the medieval given names "Siwal(d)" and "Sewal(d)", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Sigeweald", and "Soeweald", which are composed of the elements "sige", meaning victory, and "sae", sea, with "weald", rule, which translates as "sea power", and may have been a name given to sailors. However, Sewell may also be a locational name from either Sewell in Bedfordshire, Showell in Oxforshire, or Seawell or Sywell in Northamptonshire, all deriving from the Olde English "seofon", seven, and "wella", spring.Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Among the recordings from London Church Registers is the marriage of William Sewell and Margery Smyth on October 28th 1565, at St. Gregory by St. Paul. A notable namebearer was Anna Sewell (1820 - 1878), an author whose book "Black Beauty", has been popular since publication in 1877. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Sewald, which was dated 1220, in the "Court of Fees for 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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