Apparently recorded in England as Armal, Armall, and Armell, this is a very unusual surname. It would seem to be of French origins from St Ermel, a pre 7th century early Christian saint. The French dictionary of surnames lists two spellings of the surnames as Armal or Ermel, but we have not been able to find any actual recordings in those spellings in France. This is partly because French church register recordings are very poor. Many, indeed the majority, were deliberately destroyed by rioters during the Revolution of 1792, as it was considered that they were used by the secret police of the monarch. In fact not only were the early registers destroyed, but the Roman Catholic church itself was banned until reinstated by Napoleon some ten years later. In this case the name is certainly recorded in England from an earlier date with Francis Armell marrying John Johns at the church of St Stephans, Coleman Street, in the city of London, on June 16th 1687. Whether this is a Huguenot recording of a French protestant refugee, is unclear. It is possible, but not proven.
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