This unusual name is of old Scandinavian origin, from the Olde Norse female personal name 'Svanhildr', which is composed of the elements 'svanr', meaning 'swan' and 'hild', meaning 'battle'. Many of the ancient English personal names of Scandinavian or Germanic origin are compounds of seemingly disparate elements such as this one, other examples are 'Arnkell', which translates as 'eagle - cauldron', and 'Aelfweald', which means 'elf - rule'. The personal name 'Swanilda' is first recorded in Somerset in 1201, and as 'Swanhild' in 1227 in Berkshire.The marriage of Richard Swannell and Millecent Carter was recorded on the 8th September 1724 at St. Giles, Cripplegate, in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Swonild, (witness), which was dated 1247, The Bedfordshire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry III, The Frenchman, 1216 - 1272. 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.
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