Recorded in many spelling forms including Yerrall, Yerrell, Yerrill, Yarill, Yerill, Yourl, Yourell, Yarroll, and many more, all rare, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the pre 7th century Olde English "gor" meaning swampy or muddy, plus "waella", a spring, and "hyl" meaning hill, places such as Gorwell in Essex and Gorrel in the county of Devonshire being associated with springs, whilst Gorhull in Lancashire suggests a muddy hill side. Another possibility is as a dialectal form of Yarkhill in Hereford, meaning "the hill by the river", but this is unlikely as the surname is not recorded there until 1785. The probable explanation is that the name derives from a now "lost" medieval village, the original inhabitants being forcibly removed and scattered, but taking as their surname, the name of their former home. This would also explain the wide variety of spelling forms. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Saray Yarle, of Gosberton, Lincolnshire, on July 6th 1586, George Yeorle who married Agnes Home at St Margarets church, Westminster on May 3rd 1557, Marguerite Yerll, who married Lenard Tayller (!) at St Stephans, city of London, on April 11th 1619, and John Yerrell, who married Mary Baker at Tydd St. Mary, Lincolnshire, on July 13th 1749. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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