This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, and is a nickname for an elegant person, someone who was noted for their fine, skilfully made and attractive dress, from the Old French, Middle English "cointerel", a beau; a derivative of "coint", knowing, clever, but which in French developed the sense "skilfully made, attractive". The modern surname, which is found particularly in the East Anglia area, is also spelt Quantrell and Quintrell in England. The surname is first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), while other early examples include: William Cuinterell, who was recorded in the Curia Rolls of Somerset in 1214; William Queinterell, mentioned in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219; Adam le Coynterel appeared in Lancashire records in 1281; and Robert Quyntrel is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1332. Church recordings include Elizabeth Quantrill, who married John Biford on November 7th 1738, at St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf, London, and Thomas Quantrill, married to Mary Doughty at St. Luke's, Chelsea, on March 20th 1773. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ailric Cointerell, which was dated 1196, in the "Pipe Rolls of Cornwall", 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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