This interesting surname has a number of possible sources. Firstly, the surname may derive from the Old French "gorel", Middle English "gorrell", a pig, and would have been given to someone as a nickname. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. Henry Gorel is noted in the 1319 Subsidy Rolls of London. Secondly, the surname may be from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Garwulf", composed of the elements "gar", spear, and "wulf", wolf. Margeria Gorulf is listed in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Finally, the surname may be a topographical name for a "dweller by the muddy spring", from the Olde English "gor", dirt, mud, and "wella", well, spring, stream. Walter de Gorewell appears in the 1274 Hundred Rolls of Essex. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Gorrell, Gorrill, Gurril, Garrell, Garrol and Gerrell. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Robert Garrell and Hellen Croslan on January 12th 1558, at St. Christopher le Stocks; the christening of Jone, daughter of Patrick Garrell, on May 20th 1582, at St. Mary Somerset; and the marriage of John Gerrell and Ann Steward on October 4th 1796, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Gorel, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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