Recorded in a number of spellings including Trewhela, Trewhella, Treweela, and Trewheela, this is an English locational surname of Cornish origins. It is believed to derive from the ancient Cornish-Breton pre 10th century 'tre ughella', meaning the 'upper house' or possibly the highest house' or similar, and is most associatated with the two West Cornish villages apparenty known as Trewhella St. Hilary, and Trewhela St. Enoder. Locational surnames are traditionally 'names' given to people after they moved from their original homesteads and moved to some other place, often in search of work. It was and it remains, that one of the easiest ways to identify a stranger, is to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. This system has particularly applied in Cornwall. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving Cornish church registers of the Elizabethan period and shortly after include: Robert Trewela, the son of Richard Trewela, christened at Redruth on May 5th 1582, and William Trewhella, the son of John Trewhella, christened at Gwinear, on March 21st 1609.
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