This interesting and most curious surname is of Old French origin, and is either a metonymic occupational name for someone responsible for keeping horses, or a nickname for a frisky and high-spirited person, from the Old French "poutrel", a colt, from the Late Latin "pultrellus", from "pullus", young animal. The surname was introduced into England by the Normans in the aftermath of the Conquest of 1066. Variants of the name in the modern idiom include Putterill, Puttrell, Poutrel, Potterall, Pott(e)rill, Powd(e)rell and Purtill. A family called Poutrel, Powdrill held the manor of Thrumpton, Nottinghamshire, from the time of the Domesday Book until 1604, when it was confiscated as a result of their well-known Catholic sympathies. Members of the family then moved to West Hallam, Derbyshire, but the direct line died out in 1666. The name had also spread into Leicestershire and Lincolnshire by the early 14th Century, where it is still chiefly found. Henry Pultrel (Leicestershire, 1180); Robert Puterel (Leicestershire, 1199); William Poutrel (Staffordshire, 1316); William Powdrell (Yorkshire, 1379); and Martin Powdrill, of Berkshire, listed in the Register of the University of Oxford for 1592, are early examples of the surname. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family depicts a blue bend engrailed and three gold fleurs-de-lis on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Putrel, which was dated 1166, in the "Red Book of the Exchequer", Essex, 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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