Russill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Russill family name to the British Isles. They lived in Dorset. Their name, however, is a reference to Roussel, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The family there were lords of Rosel, an ancient neighborhood of Cherbourg.  
Early Origins of the Russill family
The surname Russill was first found in Dorset where they were originally descended from William Bertram, Baron of Briquebec, living in 1012. His son Hugue (Hugh) named de Roussel attended Duke William at Hastings, and became Marshall of England. "Hugh de Rosel, a benefactor of the abbey of Caen accompanied the Conqueror to England, and was rewarded with possessions in county Dorset, the principally of which were Kingston, afterwards called Kingston-Russell and Berwick, the latter of which is still in possession of the family." 
The noted Scottish author George F. Black believed that while not discounting the Norman influence, he felt the name was "most probably a diminutive of rous, 'red'," and that Chaucer's reference to 'Daun Russel' in Nonne Prestes Tale was "alluding to his reddish color."  He also notes one the first records in Scotland was Walter Russell who witnessed a charter by Walter filius Alani to the Abbey of Paisley, c. 1164-77. A few years later, John, son of Robert Russel of Doncallaw, granted lands to the Hospital of Soltre between 1180 and 1220. 
Moving back to the English branch of the family, we found a few listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, specifically: Miriel Russell in Huntingdonshire; Simon Russel in Cambridgeshire; and Elyas Russell in London. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Johannes Russell and Robertus Russell. 
Over on the Isle of Wight in Yaverland, a small branch of the family was found at one time. "An ancient mansion of the Russells here, subsequently of the Richards family, and now a farmhouse, is a good specimen of the Elizabethan style." 
"The Russells have ever been the most liberal of landlords. Every improvement made in Tavistock, [Devon] has been carried out by the Duke for the time being, ' regardless of expense,' with a taste as well as a liberality that have resulted in making the little town so far as its main thoroughfares go the handsomest of its size in the West of England. " 
Early History of the Russill family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Russill research. Another 283 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1012, 1259, 1296, 1310, 1320, 1321, 1376, 1539, 1683, 1727, 1741, 1437, 1423, 1424, 1432, 1417, 1486, 1555, 1550, 1577, 1632, 1601, 1614, 1602, 1669, 1625, 1632, 1669, 1639, 1683, 1660, 1731, 1613, 1700, 1680, 1711, 1642, 1714, 1679, 1683, 1694, 1702, 1710, 1735, 1629, 1692, 1683 and are included under the topic Early Russill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Russill Spelling Variations
A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Russell, Russel and others.
Early Notables of the Russill family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Russell (died 1437), an English landowner and Justice of the Peace, Speaker of the House of Commons (1423-1424) and in 1432, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1417; Sir John Russell, (c.1486-1555), Lord High Steward and Lord Keeper of the privy seal under Henry VIII and Edward VI, created 1st Earl of Bedford in 1550; Thomas Russell (1577-1632), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1601 and in 1614; Sir William Russell, 1st Baronet, of Wytley (ca. 1602-1669), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in...
Another 134 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Russill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Russill family to Ireland
Some of the Russill family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 111 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Russill family
Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Russill or a variant listed above: Joe Russell settled in Virginia in 1635; John Russell settled in Virginia in 1623; Simon Russell settled in Boston in 1631; William and Walter Russell settled in Virginia in 1607.
Contemporary Notables of the name Russill (post 1700) +
- Riley Russill (b. 1998), American Cinematographer and Photographer
- Patrick Russill (b. 1953), English choral conductor, organist and music conservatoire teacher, Head of Choral Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, London (1997-)
- Mike Russill, Canadian former president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada
Related Stories +
The Russill Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Che sara sara
Motto Translation: What will be will be.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ 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)
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital