Recorded in various spelling forms including Treadwell, Tredwell, Tretwell and even Tradewell, this interesting name is Medieval English. It is of occupational origins, and was found mainly in the Eastern and Midland counties. As such it may describe either a dresser of cloth as shown below, or possibly a builder and maintainer of watering holes called "waella". Originally these were natural springs probably walled (dressed) to allow for the easy collection of fresh water, but later the description was used for deep wells, as we know them. Where the origin related top the textile trade, the work of the dresser was to scour and thicken the raw cloth by beating and trampling it in water, hence the term to "tread well". There are a variety of modern surnames associated with these processes involved in the wool and cloth trade. They are usually regional. For instance the name Fuller being found mostly in South East England and East Anglia, whilst Tucker is recorded mainly in the South West, and the even more popular Walker in West and Northern England. Treadwell geographically seems to come in the middle and east of the country. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Thomas Treddewel of the county of Suffolk, where he appears in the register of members of the Abbey of Bec in 1248, and Gabriell Treadwell who married Hope Cordey on July 12th 1686, at All Hallows church, London Wall, in the city of London. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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