This interesting and unusual surname has passed through many spelling developments in its long career. It appears to be locational and to derive from some place called "Tott-a-dale" (or similar) meaning "The hill (tott) at the head of the valley (dael) Old English pre 7th Century - except that no such near placename spelling can be identified! A study of the ancient records suggests that the "modern" surname derives from "tott-hill". An ancient British site name, which translates as "the look out point" and is found in several places throughout the kingdom. The development is probably from Gilbert de Totehille (1185) Essex, to Joane Toothille recorded in London in circa 1550 to Jhon Tottrell who married Bettress Wilson at St. Mary the Virgin, London on February 10th 1563. It has been suggested that "Totterdell" is of Devon origin, but this seems unlikely as no recordings have been found before Joan Totterdell of South Moutton in 1745. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh Totterdell, which was dated January 4th 1679, christened at St. Ann's, Soho, London, during the reign of King Charles 11, "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. 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.