This interesting surname is an English development of a (usually) French origin, although there are several possibilities. The first is from a French pre-medieval personal name "Morel", a diminutive form of "More", and it is said, a nickname for someone of a dark complexion. As such it was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. The second possible derivation is from a medieval topographical surname, "Morhall", which means "one who lives at the hall on the moor". Here the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mor", meaning waste upland, with "haell", a residence or possibly a manorhouse. The third possible origin is from Morel, meaning a horse, and probably describing a horse dealer. This is again a French word from the Latin Morellus, and until the 19th century in England, in popular useage. The fourth possibility is from 'morel', a species of cherry, and possibly a name for the owner of a cherry orchard. In the modern idiom the surname has numerous spellings including Morrel, Morrell, Morrill, Morrall and Murrill. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers include Elizabeth Morrell who married Richard Chersley at Stepney, London, on November 12th 1592, and Annes, the daughter of James Morrell, who was christened at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London, on April 17th 1597. One of the earliest settlers in the New World Colonies was Nicholas Morrell. He was granted a ticket in the ship "Prudence and Mary" bound for Boston in May 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Morhalle. This was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls" of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111 of England.
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