This interesting name is of Medieval Irish origin and is the Anglicization of the Gaelic 'O'Breasail', translating as the descendant of 'Breasal', a byname meaning 'Strife'. In English the variants include Brazel, Brazil, Brassil(l) and Brassell. In modern times this surname is to be found mainly in Counties Waterford and Offaly, but previously was also located in counties Tipperary, Kilkenny, Limerick and Kerry. The old name of Lysaghtstown in County Cork, near the County Waterford border was 'Baile ui Bhreasail', and O Bressyl occurs in County Cork in 1285. Two notable name bearers are John Brassell of Ballycargin, County Wexford, High Constable of Gorey in 1608, and Denis Brazill of Ballyduff, a Jacobite. An early recording of the name in London is the marriage of Ellizabeth Brazell and Nicholas Onely on September 20th 1655 at St. Margaret Pattens. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mahowne Brassill, which was dated 1551, Kilkenny, Ireland, during the reign of King Edward V1, 'The Boy King', 1547-1553. 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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