This unusual and interesting name is a variant of the name "Darnell" and can be found as "Durnall", "Durnill" or "Durnell". There are two possible sources for the name, the first being of English locational origin, from the place called "Darnall" in West Yorkshire. The placename means "hidden nook or recess", from the Old English pre 7th Century "dierne" or "derne" meaning secret, hidden, plus "halh", a retired, secret place. The second possible source is from the Old French word "darnel", a plant which grows wild in corn fields (and was formerly believed to produce intoxication!), the name being used as a nickname to denote, possibly, a stranger, foreigner, resident in another country. "Jeane Durnall" married "John Harkinson" on the 15th June 1684 at St. Katherine's-by-the-Tower, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Goduine Dernel, which was dated circa1095, in the Calendar of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. during the reign of King William II, 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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