Recorded in the spellings of Saur, Saurel, Sorrel, and Saurin, this interesting surname is English, but of pre medieval French origin. It is a nickname for a person with reddish-brown hair, from the word "sorel", or the Anglo-Norman-French word "sor", meaning chestnut. The name, as a baptismal name, was probably introduced to England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. Nicknames were given in the first instances either to children as baptismal names, or later to people who had a particular characteristic, such as physical or mental peculiarities, as well as supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. In this case early examples of the surname as recorded in England include Thomas Sorel in the 1175 "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Norfolk, and William Sorel in 1185 in the records of the Knight Templars in England in Hertfordshire. The spelling form as Saurin seems to be much later, Jacques Saurin being a Huguenot refugee who fled the protestant persecution by in particular King Louis X1V of France. He was recorded at the French church in London known as "La Savoie" in the year 1720. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere is believed to be that of William Sorell, which was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls" of Suffolk. This was during the reign of King Henry 1st of England , 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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