This has been the name of a Sussex family since the 12th century. They were among the three or four leading ironmasters of the county when that trade was at its most prosperous, and from these men are descended the families at Knepp Castle, West Grinstead, and Ockenden House, Cuckfield. BORELL was originally a locational name 'of Burrel' a township in the parish of Bedale in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Johanna relicta Burel, County Oxford in 1273. Willelmus Burell was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Johannes Borell, 1379 ibid. Baptised. Robert William Burrell at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1627. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. 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, coats 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.
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