This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. The first of these is locational, from the place in Cheshire called 'Hassall', which is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Eteshale'. The placename means 'Haett's hollow or nook', derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name 'Haett' or 'Hat(t)', with 'halh', a nook or recess. The first element of the placename may also be 'haetse', meaning 'witch'. The second possible source is topographical, and denotes residence by or near the hazel (trees), derived from the Olde English 'haesel', Olde Norse 'hesh'. John de Hassell is recorded in the Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls of 1273. Benjamin Hassell was an early emigrant to the New World, being recorded in the parish register of St. Michaels in the Barbadoes in 1680. The coat of arms has the very unusual blazon of a green field charged with three silver adders erect. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alured del Hesel, which was dated circa 1182, The Worcestershire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry II, 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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