This interesting and unusual name is of ancient British origin, and is a locational surname deriving either from the place called 'Brill' near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire or from 'Brill' in Cornwall, near Helston. The place in Buckinghamshire is recorded as 'Bruhella' in the 'Chronicles of Abingdon Monastery' of circa 1100, and as 'Brehull' in the 1198 Buckinghamshire Curia Rolls. The placenames in both countries share the same meaning and derivation, which is 'the hill', derived from the Old British (pre-Roman) term 'bre', hill, to which an explanatory (later) Old English pre 7th Century 'hyll', hill, was added. Locational surnames were usually acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The marriage of Christopher Brill and Anne Bartillmewe was recorded at Ipsden, Oxfordshire, in 1604. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maria Brill (marriage to John Johnson), which was dated May 27th 1578, at Bayford, Hertfordshire, 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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