Recorded as Curl, Curle, Curling, and originally Curlyng, this ancient English surname has sveral possible sources. Firstly it may be locational from either of two places named Crowle. The first in Lincolnshire, recorded as Crule in the Domesday Book of 1086, is named from a river, no longer extant due to draining, and deriving from the Olde English pre 7th century word "crull", meaning curly or winding. Crowle in Worcestershire, recorded as "Croelai" in the Domesday Book, is a compound of the Olde English "croh", meaning bend, with "leah", a fenced clearing.Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. It may also have originated as a nickname, deriving from the same source of "crull" meaning winding or curly, and referring to a person with very curly hair. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from such nicknames which often refered to personal characteristics. Early examples taken from surviving rolls and charters include William Curle, in the registers of the Assize Court of Lincolnshire in 1202, and Robert Curlyng in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Susex in 1296, whilst Ralph Curl married Elizabeth Lambden on June 5th 1648, at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Burewoldus Crul. This was dated 1066, in the book of Winton, in Hampshire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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