Recorded in various spellings including Tourl, Tourle, Turl, Turle, Turlle, and Tyrle (England), and Turle, Turles, Turlur, Turlet and Turleur (France), this is a surname which has at least two possible origins. Whether English or French it can descend from the pre 7th century Danish-Viking female personal name "Thorold", which was very popular in Northern Europe and which gave rise to many surname forms, or more probably at least in the above spellings, it derives from the pre 10th century Old French word "tirel". This was a single word phrase which described an animal that pulled hard on the reins. As such it was used in a transferred sense as a medieval metonymic surname to describe a driver of a vehicle, or possibly given the robust humour of those times, as a nickname for a very difficult or headstrong person! A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames, and these were given in reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics or physical attributes. Early French records are often non existent or erratic, many being destroyed in the Revolution of 1792. In England examples of the early surname recordings include: Ralph Turold of Suffolk, in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, Claricia Thourild and Walter Thurild in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1279, whilst the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield in West Yorkshire mention one John Torild in the year 1308. Recordings from church registers in both England France include: the marriage of Agnes Tyrrl and Robert Davis on July 1st 1599, at the church of St. Katherine by the Tower (of London), James Turll, at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on October 20th 1679, Antoine Turleur at Hellering, in the department of Moselle, France, on February 16th 1722, and Jean Toureille, a Huguenot refugee, at the French Church known as 'The Artillery', in the city of London, on January 3rd 1768. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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