This interesting name is a diminutive of Cotter, itself a medieval status surname introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. It derives from the Middle English "cotter", which was a technical term of status in the feudal system for a serf or bond tenant who held his cottage by labour service rather than by paying rent. In the Domesday Book of 1086, the term is used (to denote status) as "coterellus", the Old French being "coterel", a diminutive of "cotier", cottages. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Cotterell, Cotrell, Cotterill, Cottrill and Cotherill.Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Edward Cotterell and Em Hastings in Twickenham, on December 4th 1552; the marriage of Dorothy Cottrell and Thomas Coman in St. Gregory's, on February 2nd 1566; the christening of Anne Cottrill in Wadsworth, on April 22nd 1604; and the christening of Alice Cotterill at St. Andrew's, Holborn, on June 28th 1618. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is on a silver shield a black chevron between three escallops, the Crest being a silver talbot's head couped, eared and collared gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Coterel, which was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls of London", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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.
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