Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English surname, but one of French origins. Introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, it was an occupational nickname for a maker or user of "meal-sieves". The derivation is from the word "buletel", describing a special sieve used for the edible part of a grain or pulse, and when ground to a powder, used chiefly as animal food. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and only later became hereditary when a son followed the father into the same skill or business. Early examples of recordings include Richard Bultel in the Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London in 1298, and John Buttell appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1368. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Bulteel, Boutall, Boutell, Boutle, Bouttell, Bouttle, Boutwell, Bowtell, Bowtle, and possibly others. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of Susannah, daughter of Stephen and Susannah Bowtell, on February 10th 1656, at St. Mary Woolnoth, and the christening of Richard Boutell, at St. Ethelburga's Bishopsgate, on December 27th 1716. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a silver shield charged with a fesse between three escallops, all black, the crest being an azure escallop shell. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Buletell. This was dated 1205, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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