17 May 2014

Surname Saturday: Gurwell

Today we return to Shirley Boyd's excellent family newsletter Gurwell Group (Vol.1, No. 1: May, 1996) --
The Historical Research Center of Deerfield Beach, Florida, says that the surname Gurwell, is local in origin and comes from the name of a place called Gorrel Farm in the county of Buckinghamshire, England which was earlier called Gorhale.  The Center furthers says that is could be a nickname from the Middle English word "Gorrell" which referred to a "fat-paunched person".  There are also places in the counties of Devon and Essex, when translated from the Old French, mean :a dweller by the muddy spring". The practice of using surnames did not  begin in Britain until the thirteenth century. 
Early written references to the name or a variation thereof are:  William Henry Gorel in Kent in 1176 and the same name in Devon in 1221, Cecily de Gorhull in the county Lancashire in 1246, Walter de Gorewell in Essex in 1274, Margeria Gorulf in Sussex and Worchestershire in 1296 and John Goroulfe in the same counties in 1327.   The Center also says that "the record shows that variant forms of the name were introduced into North America during the nineteenth century."
Copyright © 2014 by Kevin W. Walker

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