Recorded in a number of spellings including Chivell, Shawel, Shevell, Shevill, Shevel, and Shevels, this interesting surname is of Olde English pre 7th century origins. Derived from the word "scurel", meaning to dig or tunnel, it is job descriptive for an early civil engineer, a tunneller or possibly miner. It is said to be particularly popular in the North East of England which is logical, given that this was an area much given up to mineral extraction of various types. A coat of arms was granted to nameholders in County Durham having the blazon of Gules, a chevron between two bars, Argent.The first recording though is from the far south when one Turoldus le Scurel was recorded in the Winton Rolls for the county of Hampshire in 1148. As to when the surname in its modern forms was first recorded is unclear. However a recording in the early surviving church registers of County Durham suggests that one of the earliest may be that of Elizabeth Shevill, who was baptised at Ryton Church, Durham on July 1st 1594. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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