This rare and interesting name is of French Anglicization of a locational name "Fournal" or "Fournel" from places so called in Northern France. The derivation is from the Old French "fournel", a furnace, and the place may have originally been the site of some smelting industry. It is likely that this name was given to a person, on leaving the region, as a means of identification, and later introduced into England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. An early variant appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Wiltshire in 1553 as (John) Funnell, and in the modern idiom the variants include Fournel, Funnell(e) and Funel. Among the early recordings in London is the marriage of Edward Furnell and Jan Vyner on July 18th 1630 at St. Botolph's, Bishopgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Furnell, which was dated 1191, The Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Richard 1, "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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