This is an English locational name of Anglo-Saxon origin. Bearers of the modern surname may derive their name from any one of the places called 'Thornhill' in Derbyshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and West Yorkshire. The placenames are first recorded as 'Thornhull' (1230), 'Tornehelle' (Domesday Book, 1086), 'Thornhulle' (1291) and 'Tornil', (Domesday Book 1086), respectively, and all share the same meaning and derivation, 'hill overgrown with thorn-bushes', derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'thorn', thorn-bush, and 'hyll', hill. The name development illustrates the different forms of the surname today, Jane Turnall (1576 Yorkshire), Eliza Turnille (1568, Lancashire), Nicholas Turnell (1585, London) and Anne Thurnell (1683, London). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Turnell, which was dated 1379, The Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard II, Richard of Bordeaux, 1377 - 1399. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017