This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a patronymic of Fowle, which is from a nickname for someone who in some way resembled a bird, in part representing a Middle English (1200 - 1500) continuation of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Fugol", Bird, originally a byname. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition (as in this case), habits of dress, and occupation. The personal name was first recorded as "Fugel" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the modern surname can also be found as Fowell, Vowell and Fuggle, and the patronymics include Fowls, Fowells, Vowel(l)s and Vouls. Recorded in London Church Registers are the christenings of John, son of William and Martha Vowles, on November 18th 1716 at St. Anne's, Soho, Westminster, and of his sister, Phoebe, on July 28th 1719, at the same place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wuluard' Fugel, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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