Recorded in the spellings of Doggerell, Doggrell, Doddrell, and possibly several others, this is probably a metonymic of English medieval origins, for a breeder of dogs, and probably watch dogs or hunting hounds. Early etymologists were reluctant to put a precise meaning to the name claiming that there was insufficient evidence even though recordings were found throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, the period when surnames were generally created, at least in basic forms. In our opinion as it is accepted that the surname 'Cockerell' relates to a poultry breeder and 'Pickerell', a breeder of fish, we see no reason given that evidence to doubt the meaning of this surname. There is some confusion because of the later word 'doggerell' which refers to written work which is 'uneven' in its prose, but the link between the writing of prose and the surname is unproven. The keeping of dogs for a variety of purposes was a major industry in ancient times, however it is possible that some keepers did give the occupation a bad name. The surname is one of the earliest on record William Doggerell being recorded at the Somerset Assizes in 1277, and Alice Dogerel in the charters of Bedfordshire in 1321. The spelling as Doddrell is much later and is possibly a 'London' variant based upon dialect changes, with James Dodrell being recorded at St Clement Danes on July 14th 1738 and as James Doddrell at the same church on February 10th 1740. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Doggerell, which was dated 1249, the assizes of Warwick, at Warwick Castle, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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