This surname of WASSEL is of two-fold origin. It was a metonymic occupational name for a baker of fancy breads, from the Anglo-Norman word WASTEL (cake). The name was apparently of Germanic origin, although probably brought into England during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. It was also a locational name 'of Wasthills' in Worcestershire, so called from the Old English WEARDSETLE, meaning the dweller at the guardhouse. Early records of the name mention Richard Wacel, who was documented in the year 1273, and Andrew Wascelyn appears in County Oxford in the same year. Nicholas Wascell of County Suffolk, was documented during the reign of Edward II (1279-1307). Later instances of the name mention a certain Samuel Wasling and Elizabeth Ayling, who were married in Canterbury in 1742, and William Hyde wed Elizabeth Waslyn at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair in the year 1742. The name has numerous variant spellings which include Wastell, Waistell, Washtell, Wassall, Wasselyn and Gastall.
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