This interesting surname has three possible origins; firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, from a nickname for a mild and gentle or affectionate person, deriving from the Middle English "turtel", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "turtle, turtla", meaning turtle dove. Secondly, it may be of Old French origin, from a nickname for a crippled person, from the Old French "tourtel", a diminutive of "tourt" meaning crooked. Thirdly, it may be of Old Norse origin, from the Old Norse personal name Thorkell, a contracted form of the name composed of the divine name "Thor", the name of the God of Thunder in Scandinavian mythology, plus "ketill" cauldron. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below). Early recordings include Walter Turtel (1214) in the Curia Regis Rolls of Kent, and Henry Turtle (1327) in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex. London Church Records list the christening of Georg, son of Henry and Hannah Turtle, on December 21st 1634 at St. Botolph without Aldgate. A Coat of Arms granted to a Turtle family is silver, three blue mullets, a blue chief. The Crest is a red parrot's head between two gold wings. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Turtell, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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