Show ContentsSorrells History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Sorrells 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 Sorrells family

The surname Sorrells 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 Sorrells family

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

Sorrells 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 Sorrells family

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

Sorrells Ranking

In the United States, the name Sorrells is the 5,083rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [4]

United States Sorrells 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 Sorrells or a variant listed above:

Sorrells Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Sorrells, aged 25, who immigrated to America, in 1894
Sorrells Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Chas. J. Sorrells, aged 49, who immigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • Ester Sorrells, aged 20, who landed in America, in 1906
  • C.J. Sorrells, aged 42, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Mrs. C.J. Sorrells, aged 41, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Charles F. Sorrells, aged 59, who immigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Sorrells (post 1700) +

  • Raymond Edwin "Chick" Sorrells (1896-1983), American Major League Baseball shortstop
  • Walter Sorrells (b. 1962), American award-winning author of mystery and suspense novels for adults and teens, recipient of the 2000 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Paperback Original
  • W. Ben Sorrells, American politician, Mayor of Laguna Beach, California, 1956 [5]
  • Martin Sorrells, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 2nd District, 1980 [5]
  • Emmitt B. Sorrells, American politician, Mayor of Greenville, Texas, 1955 [5]
  • D. C. Sorrells, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Georgia, 1920 [5]

Fraterville mine
  • Mr. Edgar Sorrells (d. 1902), American coal miner at Fraterville mine in Tennessee, on the 19th May 1902 when an explosion collapsed the mine; he died [6]

  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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from
  6. News paper article Fraterville Mine Disaster retrieved on 6th August 2021. (Retrieved from on Facebook