This most interesting surname, which is widespread in Lancashire, is of Old Norse origin, from a place called "Rosgill", a hamlet just north of Shap in Westmorland, which was recorded as "Rosgyl", circa 1250, in an ancient document published in "Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society". The placename itself means "horse valley" and is composed of the Old Norse elements "hross", horse, and "gil", a ravine, narrow valley, which is a popular northern name for a valley, and a common placename element. Locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their village or place of origin to settle elsewhere. The Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire record one Walter de Rasegille in 1273. John and Edmund, sons of Richard Roskell, were christened at Kirkham, Lancashire, on November 22nd 1545 and March 2nd 1554, respectively, while Hugh Roscol married Margaret Marton on April 29th 1594 at Eccles, Lancashire. Elisabeth Rosegill married William Robinson on May 20th 1669 at Shap in Westmorland. A Coat of Arms was granted to Nicholas Roskell, Esq. of Garstang, Lancashire and was borne by his sons George, of Flint, John of Willon Crescent, and Thomas of Ampleforth College, Yorkshire, and depicts a black crescent within an orle of ten red martlets on a erminois field. The family motto is "Ros Caeli" (The Dew of Heaven). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Rasegille, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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