Recorded in the spellings of Bushell, Bushnell, Busswell, Bushel, Bishell, Bishwell, and other forms, this is an English surname of two possible medieval origins. It may be locational, and if so derives from a place called Bossall in North Yorkshire. Bossall is first recorded as Boscele and Bosciale in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, and means 'Botsige's haugh', from the old English pre 7th Century personal name 'Botsige', and 'halh', which in the north of England became 'haugh', a piece of flat alluvial land by the side of a river. The second possible origin is as a transposed spelling of the surname Bissell, itself a metonymic occupational name for a corn factor or merchant, one who measured corn. The derivation is from the word "busshell", a ancient measure of corn still used occasionally in agriculture. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rodger Buissel, believed to have been a corn merchant, and dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for the county of Somerset. This was during the reign of King William 1st, 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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