This ancient surname can be either of Norman French origins, and as such probably introduced at the time of the 1066 Invasion, or it can be much earlier still, and pre 7th century Olde English. The latter certainly applies if it is locational, because then it derives from the place called 'Bossall' in North Yorkshire. Although much earlier in its foundation, 'Bossall' is first recorded as 'Boscele' and 'Bosciale' in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name means 'Botieges haugh', a 'haugh or halh' being a piece of flat land by a river. The second possible derivation is from the Middle English 12th century 'busshell', meaning a measure of corn. This word was a development of the French 'boissel' and described a merchant, one who sold by the 'bushel'. The third possibility, is also Olde French and derives from a separate word 'buscel'. This means a small barrel, and the surname was a metonymic for a maker of barrels or baskets which held a measure equal to a bushel. Perhaps not surprisingly given such a potentially varied background, there are a number of spellings of the surname. These include Bushell, Busill, Busswell, Bissell, Biswell, Bishell, Boshell and Bushill'. Early examples of recordings include Alan Buscel of Yorkshire in 1140, Richard Bussell of Bedford in the year 1200, and Richard Buscel of Somerset in 1243. Later church recordings include Thomas Bushell of London on July 3rd 1586, and Major George Bushell, given as 'living in Barbadoes' on January 9th 1685. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rodger Buissel. which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Somerset. during the reign of King William 1, known as 'The Conqueror', 1066 - 1087. 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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