This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "whele", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hweol" or "hweowol", meaning a wheel. The name can either be occupational or topographical in origin, given to someone in charge of a water-wheel, or to a person residing by one. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary; while 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. The surname is first recorded towards the end of the 13th Century (see below), and in 1327, Hugh atte Wheale appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset. The name Wheel with its variant forms Wheal(e), Weale, Whele and Weall, is well recorded in London Church Registers from the early 17th Century onwards. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of John Weall and Mary Montgomery on November 18th 1741, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, and the christening of William, son of William and Amy Mary Weall, on June 30th 1773, at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Isabella del Wele, which was dated 1297, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.
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