This interesting name is of English locational origin from two places called "Colwell" in Northumberland and Devonshire, the former recorded "Colewell" in the Feet of fines in 1236, and the latter "Colewille in the Domesday Book of 1086. The former placename derives from the Old English pre seventh Century word "col", (char)coal or "col", cool, plus "well(a)", spring, stream, while the latter place in Devonshire gets it's first element from the river "Coly", as it is situated on a tributary of that river, which apparently means "narrow". In some instances the name may be an Anglicized version of "Colville" or "Colvill", which is of French locational origin from "Colleville" a place in Seine-Maritime, so called from the Scandinavian personal name "Koli", plus the Old French "ville", settlement. Walter de Colevile was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1273. Samuel Colwell was granted a ticket to sail aboard the ketch "William and Susan" for New England, the New World, under the command of Ralph Parker on March 21st 1678. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Colevil, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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