This very interesting old name is one with a medicinal or herbal origin, deriving from the French "darnal", a plant which was thought to have the ability to produce an intoxicating substance. As it happens there is also a small village called Darnell (the place of darnel growing) near Sheffield in Yorkshire and some nameholders will originate from this source first recorded as William de Darnale (circa 1350). The usual name development was Godwin Darnel (1177, The Suffolk Pipe Rolls), Thomas Darnele (1193, the Norfolk Pipe Rolls). Robert Darnell married Margaret Walters on September 10th 1598 at St. Mary Magdalene's, Old Fish Street London and their son Robert was christened on September 2nd 1599 also at St. Mary Magdalene's, old Fish Street. George Darnell married Anne Warryner on November 4th 1616 at St. Nicholas, Cole Abbey, London, whilst John Darnall was Clerk to Cromwells Parliament 1656 - 1658 and Thomas Darnell was a "Patriot" against Charles 1 in 1627. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwine Dernel, which was dated 1095, The Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King William 11, known as Rufus, 1087 - 1100. 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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