Recorded in several spellings including Thorold, Thorald, Torald, and Torel, this is a surname of Anglo-Danish origins. It started as a personal or given name probably before the 5th century a.d., and certainly before any surviving written records, before 'becoming' a surname around the 13th century. It derives from the twin elements of 'Thor', the ancient god of War, and found in the modern word 'Thursday' or more correctly 'Thor's day', and 'wolf', a popular name in its own right, which was also used, as in this case, as a suffix. It seems that the name was particulary popular in the country of Lincolnshire, which was also the area that remained for longest under Danish-Viking rule. The given name is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 for Lincoln, when one 'Thorold', was recorded as being a freeman and the Sherrif of the city. Later recordings showing the earliest recordings as surnames and taken from the famous Hundred Rolls of the year 1273 include: Ralph Thorald of the county of Lincolnshire, Martin Torold of Oxfordshire, and William Torel of London. The latter recording is interesting as it shows that in medieval times the further a 'name' travelled from its original home, the more likely it was that the spelling would deteriorate. Later recordings from the London church registers include: Phebe Thorold at the church of St Michael's Cornhill in 1638, and Richard Thorrold at St James church, Clerkenwell, in 1649.
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