- This unusual surname is not exactly what it seems. It derives from the Roman (Latin) "Paulus" meaning small, St Paul adopting it after his conversion to Christianity, not the other way around. It was a baptismal term of endearment, not a personal nickname, however there is no doubt that the popularity of the name throughout Europe with the exception of England, derives from the Saints missionary work. The early use of the name in England, is a "loan" name directly from the Roman invaders, and in anglicised form it was usually spelt Pole or Poul. The return of the later Crusaders in the 13th century is the attributable source in the original spelling. What is also reasonably certain is that by the commencement of the surname period in the 13th century, the "Paul" origin had become intermixed with the Olde English "Pol" meaning pool, a locational name also of considerable popularity, and describing one who lived at a pool, or at a place so named. From there on the surname was at the mercy of local dialect and spelling, and examples of the developing form include - William Pawle whose daughter Alice was christened at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney on October 15th 1560. When his second daughter Ann was christened at the same church on June 14th 1561, both he and she were recorded in the spelling of "Pall!" On September 9th 1604 Ann Paul married William Harrison at St Gilkes Church, Cripplegate. The Coat of Arms which was granted to the first name holder below is Ermine, on a blue fess, the gold cross crosslets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Paul, which was dated 1292, in the Subsidy Rolls of London. 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.