Recorded as Stawell, Stowell, and Stowelle, this is an English surname. It is locational from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "stan", meaning stony, and "wella", a spring or stream. These places include: Stowell near Northleach in Gloucestershire, recorded as "Stanuuella" in the Domesday Book of 1086; Stowell in Somerset, appearing as "Stanwelle" in the Domesday Book; Stowell in Wiltshire, entered as "Stowelle" in the Charter Rolls of that county, dated 1300, and also Stawell, near Bridgewater, Somerset, recorded respectively as "Stawelle" in the Domesday Book, and as "Stanwelle" in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Somerset. The "n" was frequently lost before "w" as many of the above recordings show. 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. Early examples of the surname include: Richard de Stawell (Wiltshire, 1273) and Lecia Stowelle (Cambridgeshire, 1273). In 1591, one John Stowell of Somerset was entered in the "Oxford University Register". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Stawell. This was dated 1272, in the Hundred Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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