Recorded in a wide variety of spelling forms including Muriel, Murrell, Murrells, Murrill, Merrell, Meriel, Merrill, Merrall, Merill, Mirralls, and the Welsh Meriel and Meryly as well as others, this is usually a surname of Scandanavian Viking, English, French-Breton or Irish origins. If the latter it derives from the ancient Gaelic 'Muirgheal' of the pre 10th century, and translating as 'Sea-bright', although it is also claimed that as Mureil it was a Breton name brought to England by the Norman-French invaders of 1066. Certainly many of Duke William of Normandy's supporters were of Breton origin with strong associations with the Celtic-Gaelic communities of Wales, Cornwall and Ireland, with whom they shared a common heritage from ancient times. There is an unproven argument that the name may also have been brought in even earlier by Vikings from Ireland, but this is not proven. There is another possibility that for some name holders the origination is not a personal name but a place name, from one of the places called 'Merryhill'. This certainly seems to have been the case with Adam de Merihel of Suffolk in the Hundred Rolls of 1273. What is certain is that the surname has an ancient pedigree. The first of all known recordings is that of Ougrim filius Miriel in the Pipe Rolls of Lincoln for the year 1188, with that of Richard Muriel, also of Lincoln being an apparently hereditary surname, only a few years later in 1195. Other early recordings include those of Richard Miriel of Suffolk in the rolls of Ely Abbey in 1221, Simon Mirield of Norfolk in the Danelaw Rolls for 1323, Walter Merel of Suffolk in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1381, and Thomas Merells also of Suffolk in 1524.
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