Recorded in several spellings including Wayvill, Wyvill and Wavell, this is an English surname, but one of Norman-French origins. Introduced by followers of Duke William of Normandy during his successful conquest of England in 1066, it is one of the earliest surnames ever to be recorded. It was locational from any of the villages called Vauville in the departements of either Calvados or La Manche, in France. The origin of the place name and hence the later surname perhaps surprisingly was German and French, the derivation being from the ancient pre 7th century personal name "Wald" meaning rule, plus the Olde French word "ville" meaning a settlement. The name development and recording in England includes that of Roberd de Wavill in the Kings Rolls for the county of Lincolnshire in 1220, whilst Henry de Wayvill is found in the register of the Somerset Assize Court for 1268, and that of Richard de Weaville in the Hundred Rolls of Bedford in 1276. Other early recordings include James de Wevyle of Sussex in 1296, Thomas de Weyville also of Sussex in 1327, and John Wauel or Wavel in the Court Rolls of Colchester in Essex, in 1376. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Walvile. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Devonshire, during the reign of King William Ist, 1066 - 1087. 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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