History of Keevil by Raymond Ward.

Keevil is situated approximately halfway between Devizes and Trowbridge, it lies just south
of the 18th Century Turnpikes, which linked these two towns - today
more prosaically labelled the A361.
From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire 1773
Keevil, in the Old Hundred of Whorwellsdown, was closely linked to neighbouring
Bulkington, which, whilst in the Hundred of Melksham, was considered a tithing of
Keevil. Both villages lie in the valley, between "Chalk and Cheese"

Many villagers have met visitors from all over the world bearing the name Keevil.  Some think their ancestors are buried in the churchyard, others believe they originate from a family who were Lords of the Manor of Keevil and lived in the manor house.   Burke's Peerage (now in US ownership) recently published  names and addresses of families bearing the name. 213 living in the UK, 74 in the USA, 36 in Canada and 3 in New Zealand - with possibly the total number of individuals in the region of 1600 world-wide.

It is unlikely that any Keevil named families would be able to trace their origins back to this village;  no village record contains anyone of that name.   This is not surprising:  years ago folk did not have surnames as we know them, so individuals would be distinguished from each other by their occupation, location or even appearance.   Thus we have what later became family or surnames such as Carpenter, Cooper, Smith. Overhill, Brook, Long and Short.   Those who had left the village or worked elsewhere would in some cases have been referred to as, perhaps John de Keevil;  later the Anglo French 'de' would be dropped.   Again, until relatively recently, there were no spelling standards and no less than 33 spellings of our village have been recorded as used between Doomsday and early this century.   The computer search by Burke's Peerage would not have taken this into account, so where are all the families with surnames spelled differently from the modern Keevil?

All of this adds to the uncertainty of direct links with the village, but Keevil is the only village in the UK bearing that name so where else could the surname have originated?


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