Recorded in several forms as shown below, this is a surname of French origins. It derives from the pre 8th century word "sorel", meaning reddish-brown and was a medieval nickname, possibly ethnic for an Anglo-Saxon, as these people often had red hair. The English surname spellings from this source include Soar, Soares, Soars, Sarrel, Sorrel, Sorrell, Sorrill, and others, whilst the French forms include Sor, Saur, Saura, Sorel, Soreau and Saurat. The name was introduced into England after the famous Norman Conquest of 1066, the first recording of the surname date from the early 12th century (see below). Nicknames have always been given for a variety of characteristics, which include physical attributes and characteristics. Many people called White are believed to be of Viking origin, whilst Black is believed to have referred to the Olde English and Welsh. In this case early examples of recordings include Thomas Sorel in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1175, and William Sarel in the records of the Knight Templars (Crusaders) of Hertfordshire in 1185, whilst John Sorrell was a christening witness at St. Giles' Cripplegate,in the city of London, on July 25th 1568. A coats of arms were granted to the name has the blazon of a red shiled charged with two lions passant gardant ermine. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Sorell. This was dated 1130, in the Pipe Rolls of Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100-1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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