The surname of MOWL was a baptismal name 'the son of Matilda'. It was composed of the elements 'maht' meaning mighty, and 'hild' meaning strength. The name was borne in England by the daughter of Henry I, who disputed the throne of England with her cousin Stephen for a number of years (1137-48). In Germany the popularity of the name in the Middle Ages was augmented by its being borne by a 10th century saint, the wife of Henry Fowler and mother of Otto the Great. Early records of the name mention Robert Mowlde and Alice James who married in London in the year 1566. John Moule of County Worcestershire, registered at Oxford University in 1584. Surnames as we recognise them today are believed to have been introduced by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066. The first mention of such names appears in the Domesday Book and they were progressively adopted between the 11th and 15th centuries. It was the nobles and upper classes who first assumed a second name, setting them apart from the common people who continued to use only the single name given to them at birth. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that is became common practice to use a secondary name, originally a name reflecting the place of birth, a nickname, an occupational name or a baptismal name which had been passed on from a parent to the child, as an additional means of identification. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in County Bedford. (Moules). The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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