This surname MACKERELL was a nickname from the Old French 'makeral' a fish known by that name. It was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion and is now a Yorkshire surname, on whose coast the particular cod of that name was caught. The earlier instances below are from the Lincoln coast, although by 1273 one had reached Cambridge. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Hugh Makarel of Lincolnshire, was documented during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272) and Walter Makeral appears in the same document. Richard Makerell was recorded in Lincoln during the reign of Edward IV (1461-1483) and Richard Mackerell registered at Oxford University in the year 1513. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. A later instance mentions Jone Mackarell who was buried at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1546.
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