This interesting and unusual name recorded in the spellings of Rastall, Restall, Restill, and possibly others, is of French origin and a metonymic occupational name for a maker or dealer in rakes, or an agricultural worker who used a rake; or a nickname for a tall thin person, one who was as thin as a rake! The derivation in all these instances is from the pre 8th centuary Old French 'rastel', a rake or matlock. It is likely that this term came into usage after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The following examples illustrate the name development after the first recording as a surname (see below): Nicholas Rastel in the London Letter Books of the year 1272, and Roger Rastall who married Dionise Mayre in London in 1574. Other recordings of interest include William Rastall, of Wisbeach, who was involved in helping an insurrection in favour of the restoration of King Charles 11nd in 1650, whilst Robert Rastall was christened on November 6th 1665 at the church of St. Gregory-by-St.-Paul's, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Roger Rastell, which was dated 1185, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Somerset. This was during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as 'The Builder of Churches", 1154-1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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