This interesting surname, with variant spellings Quantril, Quantrell, Quaintrell and Queintrell, is of early medieval English origin, and is from a nickname for an elegant person, deriving from the Middle English, Old French "cointerel", a derivative of "coint" meaning "skilled, attractive". A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below), and further early recordings include: William Queinterell, in the 1219 Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire; Robert Quyntrel, in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex; and John Queyntrell, vicar of Ormsby, who appeared as a witness in the Feet of Fines of Norfolk in 1473. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Margaret Quintrell and John Nichols on August 20th 1640, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; the marriage of John Quentrell and Elizabeth Austin on March 30th 1644, also at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; and the marriage of Elizabeth Quantrill and John Biford on November 7th 1738, at St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf. 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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