Recorded in many spellings including Eccleshall, Eckersall, Eckershall, Eckershell, and the dialectals Ockelshay, Occleshaw and Ockleshaw, this is an English surname. It is locational and can originate from any of the following villages, all of whom are spelt slightly differently, although the meaning is the same. These are Ecclesall in Yorkshire, Eccleshall in Staffordshire, Eccleshill in Lancashire or possibly as well a lost village believed to have been in Cheshire. The place name and hence the surname translate as "The church (ecles) on the halh (flat land)" or possibly the church on the hill in the case of the Lancashire name.Ecles is an Ancient British word which predates the Roman Invasion of 55 a.d. and relates to the earliest pagan era of recorded history. The early surname recordings include Robert de Eccleshale of Yorkshire in 1251, and Sir Robert de Eccleshall in the heraldic roll of Edward 11 in 1307. At the battle of Boroughbridge in 1322 he carried a coat of arms whith the blazon of a red field, charged with a bend between six martlets, all silver. These arms indicate a soldier, one who possessed little land and lived by his own efforts. Later examples include Joane Ecclesole in the register of St James Church, Clerkenwell, city of London, on December 14th 1601, and Thomas Occelshaw on October 11th 1669, at St Giles Cripplegate. In three years this gentlemen is recorded in the registers as Ockelshay (1667), Ockelshaw (1668), and as above in 1669. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Eccleshull. This was dated 1246, in the pipe rolls of Lancashire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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