This unusual name is well recorded in the London area from the Elizabethan period. The first recording coincides with the onset of the Huguenot persecution on the continent. We believe the name to be locational probably from Tournaise and a patronymic form of "Rasse", the latter being Olde French pre 10th Century, and translating as "the cleared area". The first recording suggests a double patronymic "the son of the son of Rass" but his may simply be a case of poor or anglicized spelling. The name recordings include: - Anne Rasell, who married William Wright at St. Dunstans, Stepney, on October 17th 1648, whilst on April 7th 1670, one John Rassell married Anne Sillard at St. James Church, Clerkenwell and Richard Rasell married Mildred Miller at St. Ethelburga's, London on April 7th 1711. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robart Rasselles, which was dated January 22nd 1581, who married Joone Hourste at Christchurch, Greyfriars, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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