Recorded in several forms including Densell, Dinsell, and Dinsale, this is an English surname. It is apparently locational and may originate from the village of Dinsdale near Darlington in County Durham, or from a now "lost" medieval place of which the only reminder in the 20th century is the surviving surname. Lost village surnames are a phenomena of the British Isles, it being estimated that several thousand surnames may originate from this source. As to why villages vanished was due to a combination of circumstances. These include changes in agricultural practice over the centuries, particularly from arable to pastoral, the constant creep of suburbia which each year continues to engulf individual settlements, whilst down the east coast of England, whole villages and even small towns such as Dunwich, have been lost to the encroachment of the sea. Assuming however that the surname is a dialectal form of Dinsdale, we have a village that was first recorded in the year 950 a.d., in what can be described as truly ancient times. The spelling then was "Ditneshall" translating as "the place (halh) owned by Dictnes", the latter being an early personal name which is also recorded as Deigh, as in the village name of Deighton. Examples of the surname recordings include Elizabeth Dinsale, christened at the church of St Lawrence Jewry, in the city of London, on August 19th 1546, Elizabeth Densell who married John Wite at St Mary Abchurch also in the city of London on March 21st 1653, and William Dinsell, a witness at St Johns , Notting Hill, Westminster, on July 5th 1861.
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