This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "byden", vessel, tub (used here in the transferred topographical sense of "shallow valley"), and "well(a)", spring, stream; hence, "stream in a valley". These places include: Bedwell in Hertfordshire, recorded as "Bedewell" in 1240 and as "Bidewell" circa 1330, and Bidwell near Dunstable (Bedfordshire), appearing as "Budewelle" in the 1228 Feet of Fines for that county, and as "Bedewell" in the Hundred Rolls of 1279. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those former inhabitants who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. In the modern idiom the surname has four spelling variations: Bedwell, Bidwell, Biddwell and Bidewel. On September 18th 1739, John Bidwell and Mary Whitebread were married in Woburn, Bedfordshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Bidwell family is divided per saltire gold and red, with four roundles, each charged with a martlet all counterchanged, the Crest being a hand in fesse couped holding a curling stone. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen de Bedewell, which was dated 1229, in the "Close Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "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.