This distinguished surname, of Old French origin, was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and originated either as a status name from the Old French masculine noun "dameisel", a young squire, page, or as a nickname for a young refined gentleman from the feminine noun "dameisele, damisele", a maiden (originally of noble birth). Early examples of the surname include: Ralph Dameisele (Yorkshire, 1204); Henry Damisel (Gloucestershire, 1204) and Roger Damisele (Berkshire, 1214).One Simon Damsell was recorded in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire, and a Robertus Damysell was noted in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. On April 13th 1570, Anne Damsell and Phillipp Watkyns were married at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London. The modern French equivalents of the name are Damoisel, Damoiseau, Damron and Damret, and recordings from France include the marriage of Philiberte Damoiseau to Abraham Niveau in Cote-d'Or, Villy-le-Moutier, on June 6th 1682, and the marriage of Eve Madeleine Damron and Jacques Buchmann in Bas-Rhin, Gundershafen, on January 7th 1697. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a blue shield with a gold eagle beaked and membered red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Damisel, which was dated 1191, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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