This surname ABBELL was a baptismal name 'the son of Abel' a popular 13th century name meaning 'son'. After the Crusades in the 11th to the 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one that had been given at birth, or in addition to it. This was at first recognized by those of noble birth, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. Early records of the name mention Abel de Etton, 1221, Wales. William Abell was documented in County Essex in the year of 1197. Richard Abell was documented in the County Somerset, 1300. George Abell of County Derby, registered at Oxford University in the year 1578. William Abell was the rector of Brampton, County Norfolk in the year 1714.
A notable member of the name was Sir Frederick Augustus Abel, born in 1827. He was born in London. As a chemist with the war department and ordnance committees of 1854-88, he applied himself to the science of explosives. As well as cordite, he introduced a new method of making gun-cotton, and invented the Abel tester for determining the flash-point of petroleum. He became the secretary of the Imperial Institute in 1887, and died in 1902.
This name was borne by the son of Adam who was murdered by his brother Cain, and was a popular given name in the Middle Ages, when there was a cult of suffering innocence which Abel represented
The name is also spelt as Ablott and Abletson.
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