Recorded in many forms including Col, Coll, Colla, Colle, Colli, Collo, Cuel, Cule, Cull, Cuell, Kul, Kull, Kuyell and others, this interesting 'European' surname has at least three possible origins and as many nationalities. Throughout Europe it is usually ascribed to the personal name Nicholas. This is from the Ancient Greek 'Nikolaos', and translates as 'The people conqueror'. In the medieval period it was a Crusader name. That was a name which was brought back to the western countries during the famous Crusades to free the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 12th century. It is in effect a nickname, being the middle element of Nicholas. Secondly, in a few cases, it may be from the Olde English pre 7th century personal name Cola, itself from col meaning (char)coal, and a nickname presumably denoting someone of swarthy appearance. This was also synonymous with the Old Norse name Koli. Finally, it may be Scottish and Irish, and a fused or short form of the Gaelic Mac giolla Chomhghaill, meaning the son of the servant of St. Comhghall, a personal name of uncertain origin, borne by an Irish saint. Early recordings of the surname include Richard Coll in the records of the Knight Templars (Crusaders) of England in Warwickshire in 1185, John le Col in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1321 and Abraham Cull, christened at St Nicholas Acons, in the city of London, on December 19th 1572. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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