This unusual name, with variant spellings Windell and Windhill, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a northern English locational surname from a place in Lancashire called Windle, or from Windhill in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The former was first recorded as "Windhull" in the Pipe Rolls of that county, and the latter as "Windhill" in the 1208 Fine Court Rolls of Yorkshire. Both places derive their first element from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wind" meaning wind, plus "hyll", a hill, hence "hill exposed to fierce gusts". One Walter del Wyndhel appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, and a Richard atte Wyndhull in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex, dated 1327. In 1379, Johannes de Wyndhill was recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, and in 1577, Christopher Windle of Yorkshire was recorded in the Oxford University Register. A Coat of Arms was granted to a Windle family which depicts, on a green cross, five silver martlets, while the Crest consists of a cabossed stag's head. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Windhull, which was dated 1201, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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