The surname of GEMMILL was derived from the Old English word 'Gamel' a once popular but now forgotten North of England personal name. In Scotland it was not an uncommon name in the southern counties, especially in Ayrshire, and Gamel or Gamellus witnessed charters by Richard, bishop of St. Andrews, circa 1173. Other records of the name mention Gamel (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. A toft and a croft formerly held by Gamellus was granted to the Hospital of Soltre between 1201 and 1233, and Warin and Gemel were witnesses to a charter by Brice, bishop of Moray of the church of Daviot to Spyny circa, 1202-22. Elena Gemyll, of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. Gabriel Gymmill was a cordiner in Edinburgh in the year 1599, and William Gemmill was the heir of John Gemmill, his brother in Carrick in the same year. Dynneiss Gemmello was a skipper in Dundee in 1612 and John Gemill took the Test in Paisley in 1686. (The Test was an act passed in the Scottish Parliament in 1681 which was practically a repudiation of the Covenant, and an acknowledgement that the king was supreme in all causes ' as well as ecclesiastical as civil'
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