This has been the name of a Sussex family since the 12th century. They were among the three or four leading ironmasters of the county when that trade was at its most prosperous, and from these men are descended the families at Knepp Castle, West Grinstead, and Ockenden House, Cuckfield. BURREL was originally a locational name 'of Burrel' a township in the parish of Bedale in the North 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. Early records of the name mention Johanna relicta Burel, County Oxford in 1273. Willelmus Burell was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Johannes Borell, 1379 ibid. Baptised. Robert William Burrell at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1627. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired.
As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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