This name is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational surname from the place in Surrey, now a part of south London, called 'Stockwell'. The placename is recorded as 'Stokewelle' in 1197, and means 'the stream with a foot bridge constructed out of a tree trunk', derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'stocc', meaning 'tree trunk' and hence 'plank bridge', with 'well(a)' a stream, spring, or brook. Locational names were usually given to the Lord of the Manor, and especially to those former inhabitants who left to live or work in another area. One William Stockwell appears on the register of the University of Oxford in 1581 Gabriell Stockwell, aged 16, was an early settler in the New World, leaving London in the 'True Love' in 1635 for the Barbadoes. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Egidins de Stokwelle, which was dated 1273, The Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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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