This ancient name is of Old Norse origin, and represents the survival of the Old Norse personal name "Thorketill", composed of the divine name "Thorr", the god of thunder in Scandinavian mythology, with "ketill" (sacrificial) cauldron. The given name was introduced into the north of England directly by Scandinavian settlers, while in the south it was mainly the result of Norman influence after the Conquest of 1066; the contracted forms of the name, "Thurkill" or "Thirkill" were popular throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Turketel" and "Turkil", and as "Turchil, Thurketel" in Suffolk circa 1095. The surname from this source has a number of variant forms, ranging from Thurkettle, Thirkettle and Thurkittle, to the contracted Thurkell, Thorkell, Thirkill, Turkel, Turtle and Toghill. Early examples include: Richard Turchetel (1198, Norfolk); William Thorekil (1279, Oxfordshire); and John Therketell (1524, Suffolk). The name is found widespread in East Anglia; Robert Thirkettle was vicar of Aldeburgh in Norfolk in 1554, and recordings from Church Registers include those of the christening of Thomas Thirkettle in Oulton, Suffolk, on June 7th 1573, and the marriage of John Thirkettle and Mary Simpson on October 13th 1621, at St. John Timberhill, Norwich. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a silver maunch on a red shield, and a silver chief. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Turketil, which was dated 1182, in the "Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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