This is one of those unusual English habitational names which is well recorded back to the medieval times but appears to have "no home". This is because either it is topographical and means one who dwells by a stony stream from the Old English "stein-waella", or it derives from some now "lost" medieval village, or it is locational from the village of Stanwell in Middlesex the intrusive "S" in the surname being a local dialectal additive to aid pronunciation. Either way the name is long recorded, examples include Elizabeth Stansell, who married one Robert Harris at the church of St. Peters, Pauls Quay, London on February 8th 1614, Johannes Stansell christened at St. Martins in the Field, Westminster on January 26th 1675, and the variant Stansall on June 8th 1686, when Thomas Stansall married Elizabeth Stephens at St. James, Dukes Place, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of George Stannsell, which was dated September 29th 1601, married at St. Katherines by the Tower, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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