The surname of COTTRELL was derived from the Old English word COTERELL - a tenant of a small cottage. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion, and Beringarious Cotel, documented in 1084 in Warwickshire, appears to be the first of the name on record. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. Other records of the name mention William, Gerard Coterel of the County of Berkshire in 1130. Stephen Coterel of the County of Somerset in 1273. William Coterel of the County of Bedfordshire in 1303. Edward Coterel of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Richard Cotterell and Mary Fennihowse were married in Canterbury, Kent in 1662. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but they were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that it became common practice amongst all people.
The escallop shells depicted in the arms was a badge much used by Pilgrims, and is a common bearing in coat armour.
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