This rare and interesting name of medieval origin is a topographical name for a person who lived in or near a thorny valley, or hollow, and is a derivation of the Old English pre 7th Century 'thorn', meaning a thorn bush and either 'dell', a deep hollow or vale, or 'dael', a valley. Topographical names are some of the earliest names to be created as topographical features, whether natural or handmade provided obvious and convenient means of identification. The following examples illustrate the name development after 1556 (see below), Elizabeth Thorndell (1587), Edward Thurndall (1645), Thorndill (1649) and one Ann Thorndale who married John Carpenter on May 1st 1761 at St. Luke's, Chelsea, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Thorndell (christening), which was dated August 2nd 1566, St. Andrew's, Undershaft, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 'Good Queen Bess', 1558-1603. 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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