This is an English medieval surname. Originally recorded as "atte - waella", and meaning "at the well", this is a habitational surname for a person who lived by a spring or stream, and later in medieval times, a well. There are also places called Well or Wells so the name can be locational as Well, Wells, Weller and others. This surname was "developed" as the language changed from Middle to Modern English between the 14th and 17th centuries to Attwell, and later the slang forms as Twell, Twelve, and the final "s" as in Twells and Twelves, these being the genitive form. Twell, Twells, Twelve and Twelves are all to be found in the surviving church registers of the city of London, and probably other areas as well. Examples of recordings include Nathaniell Twelves, christened at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London on November 12th 1573, Henry Twelves, the son of Richard and Joane Twelves, christened at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on January 5th 1622 whilst on November 18th 1624, Charles Twelves married Dorothy Coxon at Gainsborough Parish Church, Lincolnshire. Possibly the first recorded spelling of the variant spellings is that of Hugh Twell. This was dated 1566, in a Catalogue of Sheffield Manorial Records, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, and known as Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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