This is a name of Scandinavian and specially Norse-Viking origins. It derives from "Svanhild", a personal name of great popularity in the pre Norman period in England before 1066, and generally found today in the surname "Shimell or Shimall". The variants, Shemwall, Shimwall or Shimwell are basically 18th Century and whilst they appear to be locational from some place called "The beautiful Spring" (scene-waella), there is absolutely no recording of any such hamlet. The surname recordings with the "link" spellings include Thomas Shimell who married Mary Dowlglas at St. James Church, Dukes Place, London on December 17th 1682, John Shenwall of Stepney, September 8th 1754, and Thomas Shim-well, a christening witness at Christchurch, Stepney on June 1st 1842. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Schemylde, which was dated 1379, in the Yorkshire County Roll Tax Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1379. 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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