The surname of POWELSON was a baptismal name 'the son of Hoel' an ancient Welsh personal name. The name was also locational, and meant the dweller by the pool, from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name is also spelt POUL, POWELL, POWLSON, POWLE, POWLES and POULSON. Early records of the name mention Henry Powel who was recorded in the year 1273 both in London and Wales. Jordan de Powell, was documented in the year 1372 in Wales. John Powell, of Oxford registered at Oxford University in June 1532. William Pyper married Jone Apowell at St. Dionis, Backchurch, London in 1547. John ap-Howell was the prependary of St. David's in the year 1554. The name is also spelt Poul. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Notable members of the surname were Frederick York Powell (1850-1904) the English historian and writer. Cecil Frank Powell (1903-69) was the English physicist, born in Kent. He was professor of Physics at Bristol, director of the Wills Physics Laboratory, and is known for his work on the photography of nuclear processes. He was awarded the Nobel prize for physics in 1950. A Welsh family bearing this name claim descent from the Welsh chieftan known as Coel Hen Gotebau 'The Old Protector', who probably ruled an area of Britain under the Romans around the year 400. The first recorded occurrence of the surname in its modern form is Roger ap Howell, alias Powell, named in a lawsuit in 1563.
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