This most interesting and unusual name is of Scottish locational origin from Bourhills, St. Andrews, Fife. The placename itself is composed of the elements "burna", spring, stream, plus the Olde English pre 7th Century "hyll", hill; hence, "a spring or stream flowing from a hill". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus placenames were a major factor in surname origination.This surname was first recorded in the mid 15th Century (see below), and other early recordings include, Andrew Bourhil, who appeared as a charter witness in Glasgow in 1481, according to the Liber Collegii Nostre Domine Registrum Ecclesie, and in 1500 there is reference in Registrum Episcopatus Glasgueniss to a tenement belonging to him. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Bourhill, Burehill and Burhill. Recordings from Church Registers include: Marion Burehill, recorded at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1598; the christening of Edward Burhill at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London on April 1st 1625; and the marriage of Euphan Bourhill and John Brooks on January 4th 1788, at St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Laurence Bourhil, Sheriff of Lanark, which was dated 1456, in a "Descriptive Catalogue of Impressions from Ancient Scottish Seals", during the reign of King James 11 of Scotland, 1437 - 1460. 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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