The associated coat of arms for the name VASSELL are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in New England; descended from John VASSALL, Alderman of London, who equipped and commanded two ships of war against the Spanish Armada. The family line was represented in the female line by the descendants of two of the children of Florentius VASSALL, viz. Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Richard VASSELL, Esq. of Jamaica, who married Henry Richard, third Baron Holland, and Elizabeth VASSELL who married the Hon. John Barrington, son of John, first Viscount Barrington. The surname was originally derived from the Old French 'vassel' an occupational name for a vassal, servant or dependant. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form VASSALLUS. Other spellings of the name include VASSAL, VASSALLO and VASSALLI. The name was occasionally used as a personal name, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The earliest of the name on record appears to be VASSALLUS de Aunfoilliis, who was recorded in 1221 in County Cumberland, and Hugo VASSALL, was documented in 1202 in County Gloucestershire. Henry VASSAL appears in County Worcestershire in the year 1221. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. A later instance of the name mentions Edward VASSELL of Yorkshire, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.
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