Sorrell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Sorrell is an ancient Norman name, that would have been used in Britain soon after the Conquest of the island in 1066. This name was given to a person who was a person with red hair, a ruddy complexion, or who dressed habitually in the color red. The name was originally derived from the Old Norse word sor, meaning chestnut, and referring to the reddish color of dry leaves.

"The young hind, from its early indefinite red, is known as 'Sorrell'; and Aubyn, in his ' Lives,' describes Butler, author of Hudibras, as having ' a head of sorrell haire.' " Hinds are, however, never called sorells ; this appellation properly belongs to the young fallow deer, who grows from a fawn into " a pretty, pleasing prickett," thence to a sorell, a sore, and finally becomes a buck. Nor are we, I trust, bound to draw the inference that Agnes Sorel's hair was red. [1]

Early Origins of the Sorrell family

The surname Sorrell was first found in Leicestershire. "Henry II. confirmed to Leicester Abbey by charter the churches of Thornton and Siresham, the gift of Thomas Sorrel; Simon Sorel witnesses a deed of Robert Blanchemains, Earl of Leicester, about 1180 ; and Lucas Sorell was a landowner in the time of John.This is the last mention I can find of them in that county. In Yorkshire Helias Sorel, for the health of himself and of Quinild his wife, gave some lands in Billingley to Monk Bretton. In Gloucestershire Robert Sorell witnessed Edward II.'s charter to Keinsham Priory (Mon. Angl.). Tebbald Sorell, of Norfolk, occurs about 1199 in the Curia Regis Rolls: and there is some subsequent mention of the family in that county during the reign of Henry III." [1]

William Sorell was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Suffolk in 1130, William Sorel was found in the Pipe Rolls for Norfolk in 1175 and ten years later as a Knight's Templar in Hertfordshire. [2]

Almost one hundred years later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included a listing for John Sorel, Oxfordshire. [3] Thomas Sorel, resident in the Liberty of the Bishop of Ely in Cambridgeshire, was summoned to serve against the Scots in 1322. [1]

Early History of the Sorrell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sorrell research. Another 239 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1257, 1626, 1650, 1728, 1650, 1738 and 1588 are included under the topic Early Sorrell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sorrell 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 Sorrell, Sorel, Sorell, Sorril, Sorrill, Sorwell and others.

Early Notables of the Sorrell family (pre 1700)

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

Sorrell Ranking

In the United States, the name Sorrell is the 3,698th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [4]


United States Sorrell migration to the United States +

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 Sorrell or a variant listed above:

Sorrell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Sorrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • Robert Sorrell, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • Tho Sorrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1642 [5]
  • John Sorrell who settled in Virginia in 1647
  • Mary Sorrell, who landed in Maryland in 1648 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Sorrell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Sorrell, who arrived in America in 1760-1763 [5]
Sorrell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Francis Sorrell, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1824 [5]
  • Stephen Sorrell, aged 25, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1832 [5]
  • Dr. Sorrell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]

Australia Sorrell migration to Australia +

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

Sorrell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Sorrell, (Sorell), (b. 1806), aged 28, English ploughman who was convicted in Essex, England for life for highway robbery, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 27 September 1834, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1874 [6]
  • George Sorrell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [7]
  • R. Sorrell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Watson" in 1849 [8]
  • Mr. John Sorrell, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Slains Castle" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 25th January 1851, en route to Adelaide [9]
  • Mrs. Anna Sorrell, (b. 1818), aged 32, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Slains Castle" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 25th January 1851, en route to Adelaide [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Sorrell (post 1700) +

  • Victor "Vic" Garland Sorrell (1901-1972), American Major League pitcher for the Detroit Tigers
  • Orville G. Sorrell, American politician, Mayor of Erlanger, Kentucky, 1976-81 [10]
  • J. R. Sorrell, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 1952 [10]
  • Frank Sorrell, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Nebraska, 1948; Candidate for Governor of Nebraska, 1948 [10]
  • Francis Sorrell, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 12th District, 1861-62 [10]
  • E. W. Sorrell, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Louisiana, 1912 [10]
  • Tony Sorrell (b. 1966), English former professional footballer
  • Nancy Sorrell (b. 1974), English model
  • Kevin James Sorrell (b. 1977), English rugby union footballer
  • Sir Martin Sorrell (b. 1945), English businessman, current chief executive officer of WPP Group
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/augusta-jessie
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ramillies.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The barque WILLIAM WATSON 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849WilliamWatson.htm
  9. ^ The Argus News Paper 27th January 1852 Page 2 (Retrieved 26th April 2019). Retrieved from https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/4775844?browse=ndp%3Abrowse%2Ftitle%2FA%2Ftitle%2F13%2F1851%2F01%2F27%2Fpage%2F505154%2Farticle%2F4775844
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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