The surname of HULL was a locational name 'of Hull' an important seaport town in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream.
Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. The name is also spelt HULLE, HULLES, HULLAH, HULLS and HULSON. Early records of the name mention Elyas de la Hulle who was recorded in County Wiltshire in the year 1273. Leticia atte Hull was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) in County Somerset. Elena de Hull, of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Nicholas atte Hulle ibid. 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. William Hull (1753-1825) was the American soldier, born in Derby, Connecticut. He fought in the American War of Independance (1775-83) and was governor of Michigan territory. In the war with Britain (1812) he was sent with 1500 men to defend Detroit, was compelled to surrender, and was courtmarshalled. He was sentenced to be shot - not carried out. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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