This interesting surname, with variant spellings Turrill, Terrell, Tyrrell, Tirrell and Terrell, is either of Scandinavian or Old French origin, and may derive from two possible sources. Firstly, it may have originated from the Old Danish "Thorild", "Thorold", which was a rare female personal name that was very popular in the 11th Century. The personal name "Durilda", from this source was recorded in the Domesday Book of Suffolk in 1066. The surname may also come from the Old French "Tirel", thought to be from a Norman nickname for a stubborn person, as the word itself was used to describe an animal which pulled on the reins.A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, and to habits of dress. Claricia Thourild and Walter Thurild were both recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1279, while the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield mention one John Torild in 1308. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Anne Turrell on December 28th 1554, at St. Martin Ludgate; the marriage of Avice Turall and John Daniell at St. Olave's, Hart Street; and the marriage of Agnes Tyrrill and Robert Davis on July 1st 1599, at St. Katherine by the Tower. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Turold, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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