Recorded in the spellings of Desaur, Dessaur, Saur, Sor, with diminutives Saurel, Sorel, Sorrel, Saurin, and others, this is a French surname also recorded in England for nearly one thousand years. It was originally a personal name of endearment perhaps for a child with red hair, and later a medieval nickname for such a person. It derives from the Norman French word "sor", meaning chestnut. The name, as a baptismal name, was probably introduced to England by the Normans after the famous Conquest of England in 1066.In France it is said that the name originates from the south or south west of the county, but unfortunately early recordings in France predating the famous Revolution of 1792 are rare, as most were deliberately destroyed during this period. In England the oposite applies with early examples dating back to the 12th century. These include Thomas Sorel in the pipe rolls of the county of Norfolk in 1175, and that of William Sarel in the records of the Knight Templars (Crusaders) in Hertfordshire in 1185. French examples do include Johannes Saur of Ebersheim, Bas-Rhin, on April 12th 1663, whilst Jacques Saurin was a Huguenot refugee who fled the protestant persecution in France, and is recorded in 1720 at the French church in London known as "La Savoie". The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere is believed to be that of William Sorell. This was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls" of Suffolk. This was during the reign of King Henry 1st of England , known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100-1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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