This is surely one of the most unusual and romantic sounding of all surnames, evocative of wild places in the South Atlantic. In fact it is English through and through, and a glorious example of the development of a surname over the centuries. In origin it is locational and derives from a village called "Tattersall" in Lincolnshire. The name is pre 10th Century and describes a place (halh) owned or occupied by a person probably called "Tata", or similar, a baptismal name of the period. The present name form developed as former inhabitants, taking the name of their original village, spread out around the country, encountering local dialects as different to them as foreign languages.In this case Tateshall in the original spelling of 1191 (Hugo de Tateshall), gradually evolved into Tatershall (Yorkshire, 1327) and Tatershall, Agnes Tatershall being recorded in London in 1559. The "modern" spelling is probably a London dialect development, becoming Tortershell (see below), Tortershall (1756) and Toitoishell, also London, 1797. In this form it also appears in Warwickshire, John Toitoishell marrying Harriet Pegg at St. Martin's Church, Birmingham, on December 28th 1828. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Tortershell, which was dated October 20th 1751, marriage to Sarah Lewis, at St. Ann's Church, Westminster, London, during the reign of King George 11, known as "The Last Soldier King", 1727 - 1760. 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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