Dorrell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Dorrell family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They 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 Dorrell family

The surname Dorrell 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 Dorrell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dorrell 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 Dorrell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dorrell Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Darrell, Dorrell, Dayrell, Darrel, Darell, Darel and others.

Early Notables of the Dorrell 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 Dorrell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Dorrell migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Dorrell or a variant listed above were:

Dorrell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Dorrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1624-1625 [7]
  • Thomas Dorrell, who landed in Maryland in 1633 [7]
  • Tho Dorrell, aged 22, who arrived in Bermuda in 1635 [7]
  • William Dorrell, who landed in Virginia in 1643 [7]
  • George Dorrell, who landed in Maryland in 1653 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Dorrell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Nathaniel Dorrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1713 [7]
Dorrell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Dorrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1887 [7]

Australia Dorrell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Dorrell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Frederick Dorrell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1839 [8]

New Zealand Dorrell migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Dorrell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Dorrell, (b. 1833), aged 26, English miner, from Middlesex travelling from London aboard the ship "Robert Small" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 29th January 1860 [9]
  • Miss Elizabeth Dorrell, (b. 1836), aged 31, British cook travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd January 1868 [10]


  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)
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Lysander.htm
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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