Recorded in several forms including Shortell, Shortill, Shorthill, Shortall, Shortle and Shurtle, this is an English surname. It appears to be locational and to originate from some place called 'Short (something)'. This could have been Short Hill or Short Hall except that no such place appears in any known gazetter of the British Isles. The nearest spelling is Shortridge, but there is no indication in any records that Shortridge has produced surnames. We are therefore forced to the conclusion that this surname as Shortell or whatever, is from a now 'lost' medieval place of which the only reminder in the 20th century is the surviving surname in its various forms. 'Lost' village names are a feature of the British surnames listings, and it is estimated that at least three thousand surnames do originate from such places. As to why they 'died' has been the subject of many books, but changes in agricultural practice, loss of tenancy rights, plague, several of which swept the country in the period from 1348 to 1665, civil war, or even coastal erosion, have all played a part. In this case the surname is very well recorded in the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London. Examples include John Shortle who married Winfred Lewis at St Giles Cripplegate, on November 13th 1644, Sarah Shorthill, who was christened at St Brides Fleet Street, on August 26th 1701, and Joseph Shortell, christened at St Mary-le-Bone, on June 19th 1741.
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