Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this is a very early English medieval surname. It derives from a personal name which may have been already present in the British Isles before the Norman French conquest of 1066. This was Serilo possibly from the word searlu, meaning armour, and giving a possible meaning of defender or protector. The personal name was popular fro several centuries and is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 in the county of Essex. Other examples include Serlo le Flemyng of Lincolnshire, in 1150, and Serle Gotokirke of Cambridgeshire in 1273. Early examples of the surname recordings include Hugo Serle of Dorset in 1250, and William Serell of Yorkshire, in the poll tax register of 1379. In the modern idiom the surname spellings are known to include Searl, Searle, Serle, Sirl, Surle and Serrell. Francis Searle, aged 28, was one of the early emigrants to English colonies in America. He embarked from London on the ship "Paule", bound for Virginia, in 1635. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a red shield, charged with a silver chevron between three silver trefoils slipped. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Adam Serle. This was dated 1226, in the tax rolls known as the Feet of Fines of Berkshire, during the reign of Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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