Recorded in many forms including Birchall, Burchell, Birchill, Birtles and Birtle, this English surname is locational. It derives from Biekel, the original spelling of the Lancashire village of Birtle, first recorded in the Pipe Rolls of the county in 1246. By 1347 this spelling had become Birkehill, but from about 1660 it has been spelt as Birtle. The meaning of the place name and hence the later surname is Birch Hill from the pre 7th century Olde English birc - hyl. In the original name recordings the village spelling was given in both its old and new spelling, although Birtles is purely a local dialectual pronunciation which eventually became the norm! Like most locational surnames, this is a "from" name. That is to say a name given for identification to somebody who had left his or her original village, and moved somewhere else. The subsequent surname developments taken from surviving church registers of Lancashire include: Agnes Burchall in 1635, Alice Burchell in 1688, Aprah Birchall (1701), and Ann Birchill (1732), whilst William Burchell (1782 - 1863) was a famous Victorian explorer and botanist, The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Birchall de Birtles. This was dated 1401, in the rolls of Gawsworth District of East Cheshire, during the reign of King Henry IVth of England, 1399 - 1413. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was often 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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