Recorded in many spellings including Wassell, Wastall, Washtell, Westall, and Westell, is English. Of pre 7th century origins, it is either a topographical name from residence near a "halh" to the west of a village, or it is locational name from places called Westhall or possibly Westhill, which derive their name from the same source of "west" and "halh". The latter probably described either a manor house, or a civic meeting place or law-court. There are several such examples including Westhall in Suffolk, Westhall near Ripley in Surrey, and Westhill in Devon. Locational names were originally given either to the lord of the manor, or to those villagers who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere, and were most easily identified by the name of their birthplace. Early examples of the surname recording include Agnes Westall and Walter Bradforth, who were married in 1541 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and Owen Wessall, who in 1564 was entered in the register of Oxford University. On March 28th 1624, Alice Westell was christened at St Batholomews the Less, London, and on April 26th 1640, William Westell married Sara Humphreys at St Margaret's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Richard atte Westhalle. This was dated 1302, in the pipe rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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