Recorded as Schiell, Shell (England), Schiele, Schieler, Schell, Schelle, Scheller, Schill, Schiller (German), and others, this is a surname which arguably is pre 6th century and Anglo-Saxon or Germanic. However although the spellings look much the same the meanings are often quite different. The name of Schiell which is recorded in about ten English counties although rarely in any quantities, is almost certainly an import but as to when, we are unable to say. It would seem to be cognate with the German spelling of Schill and if so derives from the word schil meaning a muddy or marshy area, whilst the similar German spelling of Schiele means a person with a squint! Shell may be the same as Schell(e) and describe a hot tempered person, or somebody who behaves like a stallion.The mind boggles! In addition all the spellings over the centuries have become confused making it almost imposible to give a straight answer to any of the potential origins. What we do know is that the spelling as Schiell has been recorded in England for several centuries and that Adrian Schiell, who may have been a German Huguenot, seems to have been the rector of Ammerham in Devonshire, but now Somerset, between the years 1597 and 1607.
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