This uncommon and intriguing name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical surname used in the first instances to denote someone who lived near the fork of a river, or on land in such a fork. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "twisla", fork of a river, a term also found in such placenames as Twistleton (Yorkshire), Entwisle (Lancashire), and Haltwhistle (Northumberland). Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. In some few cases, the modern surname may be locational in origin, from Twizel Castle or Twizell in Northumberland, named with the same Olde English "twisla". One Richard de Twysel was recorded in the Staffordshire Assize Court Rolls of 1272. Recordings of the name from various Church Registers include: the christening of William, son of William Twizell, at Ansley, Warwickshire, on July 21st 1672; the christening of Thomas, son of Sam Twizell, on January 10th 1689, at St. John Deansgate, Manchester, Lancashire; and the marriage of Concey Twizel and John Gould at Alverstoke, Hampshire, on September 22nd 1778. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Twisle, which was dated 1196, in the "Pipe Rolls of Durham", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017