This surname ABELL 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. 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.
During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coat of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. 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. The name is also spelt Abell and Abbell.
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