This rare and interesting surname is of Scandinavian origin and is the Anglicization of an Old Norse personal name "Gunnhilde". The derivation is from the Old Norse "gunnr" meaning battle and being a female given name, names which have Gunnhilde as their source are metronymic, (of the mother). The name was first recorded as a given name in the Domesday Book of 1086 (Gunnild, of Sussex) and as Guinnilla in 1214, and was not in use as a surname before 1240 (see below). There are many surnames, found often in the north of England, that derive from this Old Norse element "gunnr", for example, Gun, Gunn, Gundry, Goudry, Gumnell, and Gunnett. The earliest recording of the name in its present form is of one Phillip Goundrill who married Ellin on December 18th 1671 at Drypool, Yorkshire, and also of the christening of James Goundrill on June 18th 1735 at Skirlaugh, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gunnild, which was dated 1240, Charters of the Abbey of Ramsey, Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, "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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