- This is an unusual and interesting name of French origin. Introduced by the Normans after the invasion of 1066, and later again by the famous Huguenots of the early 18th century, it is a diminutive (in the sense "little") of the Olde French word "boure", which described a type of coarse reddish-brown wollen cloth, with long hairs, as worn by monks and friars. However the surname is more secular being an occupational name for a merchant or manufacturer in the wool trade who specialised in the supply of "borel". Curiously the name was also used as a personal name, or as a nickname for a comely man, a countryman, one who gressed in a comfortable manner. In the modern idiom the spelling forms of the surname are numerous and they include: Burrel, Burrell, Borrell, Burrill, Birrell, and Borrel. Amongst the early recordings taken from the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London is that of Ann Elizabeth Borrill, who was christened at St Mary Whitechapel, in the city of london, on 5th February 1748. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Burel, which was dated 1194, in the Pipe Rolls, Wiltshire, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart 1189 - 1199". Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.