Dorrel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Dorrel came to England with the ancestors of the Dorrel family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Dorrel family lived in Buckinghamshire. They were originally from Airel, in La Manche, Normandy, and it is from the local form of this name, D'Airel, meaning from Airel, that their name derives.

"William de Orrell, a gentleman of the north parts of Normandie, soe called of a castle and family of that countrie, the which came in with the Conqueror, being for his good services done in he North... endowed with the possessions of a Saxon called Etheldred of Broadsworth, an ancient seat twelve miles west of Yorke." Such is the statement attached to an old pedigree quoted in Burke's Commoners. [1]

Early Origins of the Dorrel family

The surname Dorrel was first found in Buckinghamshire where this ancient and noble family of Norman descent came over with the Conqueror and seated themselves at Lillingstone before the year 1200.

"The descendants of this Norman knight established themselves over various counties, and for centuries flourished in all: the principal were those of Calehill and Scotney, in Kent; of Sesay, in Yorkshire; of Littlecote, in Wiltshire; of Pageham, in Sussex; of Trewornan, in Cornwall; of Lillingston Dayrell, Bucks; and of Shudy Camps, in Cambridgeshire. A curious trial is on record with reference to the Littlecote branch. Its chief was arraigned for the murder of an infant child, on the evidence of the midwife, who detailed, with most circumstantial minuteness; her journey, blindfolded, to a residence which she supposed to be the ancient manor-house of Littlecote, her presence at the birth of a male child, and her belief, founded on many circumstances she narrated, that the infant was burnt to death. On cross-examination, however, her evidence broke down, and Dayrell was acquitted." [2]

"Richard son of Elais Dayrell being seised of a messuage and half of knight's fee there in King Richard the First's time, or the beginning of King John's reign. Before 1306 the Dayrells became possessed of the fee of the manor, which has ever since continued in the family." [3]

The Dyarells of Shudy Camps in Cambridgeshire are a younger branch of the family descending from the second son of Paul Dayrell of Lillinstone, Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1579. The parish of Horkstow in Lincolnshire "contains a family vault for the Darells, formerly owners of property in the parish." [4]

The Curia Regis Rolls of Yorkshire included a listing for Thomas de Arel in 1166 and later the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire listed Marmaduc Darel in 1182. Early Manx records listed Ralph Darel(l), Dairel(l) there in 1204-1205 and Henry de Ayrel or Dayrel was found in the Feet of Fines for Berkshire in 1235. [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Henry Dayrel, Buckinghamshire; Ralph Dayrel, Buckinghamshire; and Isabella Darel, Yorkshire. [6]

Early History of the Dorrel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dorrel research. Another 235 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1415, 1539, 1589, 1560, 1589, 1450, 1491, 1465, 1530, 1529, 1513, 1556, 1539, 1589, 1572, 1563, 1651, 1721 and 1845 are included under the topic Early Dorrel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dorrel Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Darrell, Dorrell, Dayrell, Darrel, Darell, Darel and others.

Early Notables of the Dorrel family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Elizabeth Darrell, the first wife of John Seymour (c. 1450-1491), and paternal grandmother of Queen Jane Seymour; Sir Edward Darrell (c. 1465-1530), of Littlecote, Wiltshire, an English politician, Member of the Parliament for Wiltshire in 1529; Elizabeth Darrell (born c. 1513-c. 1556 ), the long-term mistress and muse of Sir Thomas Wyatt, they...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dorrel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Canada Dorrel migration to Canada +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Dorrel or a variant listed above:

Dorrel Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Caleb Dorrel, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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