There are many unusual features in regard to this equally unusual surname. It is without doubt of French-Huguenot origins; however, in its travels through England, its form has undergone considerable change. It derives from the Old French "Bihoreau", which strictly means "the little heron", but in fact was a nickname for a person with long legs. The name is found in England as early as 1704 (see below); however, the clarifying "French" recording is that of Jaques Bihoreau de St. Amour at the French Huguenot Church, Le Temple, Soho, on October 18th 1710. Thereafter the name appears to have been gradually Anglicized, Jean Quillain Behal being recorded at St. Saviours Church, Southwark, in 1834, and Isaac Beharrel at All Saints, Birmingham, between August 26th 1855 and August 1st 1871. From 1884 the name is recorded in the Rawtenstall District of Lancashire. A curious recording found in London is that of Peter Bihull who on July 16th 1701, married one Elizabeth Jones at St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney, and who may have been the original "English" Beharrel. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Daniel Bihoureau, which was dated February 26th 1704, marriage to Elizabeth Handeshyde, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, during the reign of Queen Anne, known as "The Last Stuart Monarch", 1702 - 1714. 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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