This is one of the most puzzling of locational surnames. It derives from some apparently 'lost' village in Lincolnshire, which was probably called "Ac-hill" meaning the "The Oak Hill" The origin is almost certainly Olde English pre-6th century, however no such village name is recorded for the area in the medieval village lists, and in fact Lincolnshire is not an area which is generally associated with Oak at all. Another possible origin is "Acer-hill" which would translate as the hill cleared for agriculture, but again no such place is recorded in Lincolnshire. Nethertheless the two centres for the name are Lincolnshire and London, and this situation itself suggests that at sometime probably around the 16th century the original village was "cleared" and the inhabitants, or many of them at least, were forced to leave the area to seek employment. This may have been by natural causes, flood or plague, or deliberate enclosure of the common lands. Either way when the inhabitants left, they took or were given as their surname, the name of their former home. As most could neither read or write, and as local dialects were very distinctive this lead to "sounds like" spelling forms. In this case the recordings include George Acrill whose son Nicholas was christened at South Kelsey, Lincolnshire, on August 21st 1579, and Thomas Ackrill, who seems to be the "founder" of the London family, and who was first recorded at St Dunstans in the East on March 15th 1658, when his son Thomas was christened. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ellin Acrill, which was dated January 21st 1568, married Thomas Dixon at South Kelsey, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 known as "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.
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