This name, with variant spellings Whittell and Whitel, is of English locational origin from any of the places thus called, for example Whittle le Woods and Welch Whittle in Lancashire, or either of two places called Whittle in Northumberland, one near Felton and the other in Ovingham. Recorded variously as Witul, Whittle, Whittall, Withull Whittles and Wythill in early 13th Century records of the above counties, the name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century 'hwit', meaning white, plus 'hyll', a hill.The surname was first recorded towards the middle of the 13th Century, (see below). John Whittle of Chorley, Lancashire, was entered in the 'Wills Records at Chester', dated 1581. In some instances, the name may be a dialectal variant of Whitwell, places in Derbyshire, Dorset, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Leicestershire, Wight and the North Riding of Yorkshire. The derivation, in these instances, is from the Old English 'hwit', white and 'wella', a spring or stream; hence, 'dweller by the clear stream'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Withull, who was a witness, which was dated 1242, in the 'Fine Court Rolls of Lancashire', during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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