This unusual and interesting name is of Olde Norse origin and derives from the Olde Norse female personal name "Gunnhildr". The name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Gunnild", in Sussex and in the Curia Rolls of Surrey and London of 1214 and 1219 as "Gunnilla". The medieval English forms of the name were "Gunnilla" and "Gunnild". It is composed of the elements "gunn", battle and "hild", strife, contention. As a personal name "Gunnild" was extremely popular in those parts of England that were most under Norse influence, such as Lincolnshire, Lancashire and the northern counties.The marriage of John Gunnell and Anne Butler was recorded at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1565. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Gunnilt, which was dated circa 1154, in "Documents relating to the Danelaw", London, 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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