Orel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Orel surname is thought to be a habitational name, derived a place named Orell in Lancashire. The place name is thought to derive from the Old English "ora," meaning "ore," most likely iron ore, and "hyll," meaning "a hill." [1]

Early Origins of the Orel family

The surname Orel was first found in Lancashire at either Orrell, with Ford or Orrell, townships that date back to the Domesday Book of 1086. [2]

"Matthew de L'Oriel, or L'Oriol, and Robert L,'Orle, occur in the Norman Exchequer Rolls 1180-95. In England I find an old Lancashire family named Orrell, though Baines seems to assign to them a Saxon origin. 'Richard de Horul held half a carucate in thanage and a render of 10s - together with the service of finding one judger of old. As these possessions were drengages, it would seem that the Horuls were descended from the thanes of the Domesday Survey, and they were ancestors of the Orrells of Turton, who had also property in the adjoining township of Dalton in the time of Henry VIII. Orrell Hall is now a large farmhouse." [2]

One of the family built Turton Tower. 'The expense, it is said, was so exorbitant as to cripple the Orrells, and they were never able to recover from its effects. After many struggles, they first mortgaged the township, and subsequently sold it to the celebrated Humphrey Chetham. Several of the Orrells still reside in Turton and the neighbourhood.'-Illustrated Itinerary of Lancashire.

The township of Orrell retains their name. I cannot find that it belongs to any place in Normandy; but there is a town called Loriol on the Rhone. Oriel, the ancient name of the Irish county of Lowth, which gives the title of Baron to Viscount Massareene, is merely the Anglicized form of the Celtic Orgial or Argial. Camden speaks of 'the famous family of the Orells' of Turton-Tower. A Robert Oriol witnesses the foundation charter of Northampton Priory." [3]

Turton Tower survives today as a manor house in Chapeltown in North Turton, Borough of Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire.

Early History of the Orel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Orel research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1480 and 1765 are included under the topic Early Orel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Orel Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Orrell, Orrel, Orell and others.

Early Notables of the Orel family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Orel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Orel family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Thomas Orrell who settled in Barbados in 1669; Alex Orrell landed in America in 1705; William Orrell settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1848.


Contemporary Notables of the name Orel (post 1700) +

  • Orel Leonard "Bulldog" Hershiser (b. 1958), American baseball player
  • Orel J. Skeen, American Democratic Party politician, West Virginia State Treasurer; Elected 1956 [4]


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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