The American Dictionary of Surname quotes this surname as being English, but this is clearly wrong. The name originated in Germany, and may have been introduced into England as a Flemish Weaver name in the 15th century, but of this we are uncertain. It is certainly occupational and describes a cloth finisher, one who 'dressed the cloth' to obtain the finest possible surface. It was therefore a highly skilled job, and as such listed amongst the medieval skilled trades lists of the 14th century, which jealously guarded the standards and skills of those long lost times.Recorded in the earliest German records and charters in a number of spellings including Dressel, Tressel, Dressell, and Dresell, the first recording anywhere in the world is probably that of Nikolas Dresel, given as being a burger or citizen of Konstanz in the year 1286. Other examples are: Vyt Tressel of Donauschingen in 1455, and Johannes Dressel of Helmbrechts in 1476.
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