POSSIBLE ORIGINS AND MEANING OF THE NAME
This information was found on the Gorrell list on the internet, I do not know these people and I do not know who these people are and how accurate the information may be. - Anita
Here is some information on the very earliest Gorrell references that I have found:
Index of Place-Names in Devon Hartland Hundred Woolfardisworthy Gorrel is Gorwell in 1244 Assize Rolls.
Braunton Hundred Barnstaple Gorwell is Gorwill in 1618 Both places mean 'Dirty Spring', from gor, wielle.
Calendar of Papal Registers, Petitions: volume 1, page 13. Master John de Gorrelegh M.A. Rector of Yenstowe in 1342.
Calendar of Papal Letters, volume iii, page 58. John de Gorrele M.A. Rector of Instow in 1343 made Canon of London.
Calendar of Close Rolls, page 573. John de Gorrele, Clerk, Parson of Yenestowe in 1345. Acknowledgement of indebtedness to Henry de Graystok, Clerk.
Hope you find that interesting. Best wishes, Peter"
I have read quite a few Gorrell messages and a lot of them are pure supposition and misleading. I can tell you that Gorrell is a very ancient North Devonshire Saxon name (the Kelts and Saxons live in Devon). There are probably other Gorrell families that have origins elsewhere in England (such as Yorkshire) that are not connected with the Devon Gorrell's but as they too are possibly ethnically Saxon the word 'Gor el' could of had the same meaning to them i.e. a mucky place, where they lived. As for Scots or Irish decent - that's a new one on me and I have not come across any proof of that link. I think there are also German Gorrell connections and of course they too use a similar language to the English Saxons and therefore probably have the same meaning of the name. The only way you can be sure of your decent is to trace each generation and back to Europe. One major thing in favour of a decent from the Devon Gorrell's is that the people of Devon were reknown mariners and the Westcountry generally were amongst the early settlers in America and had a major influence on the development of the American dialect. A lot of Devonshire Gorrell's (Gorwell's / Gorwill's / Gorel's etc) lived around Bideford and Appledore which were important ports a few hundred years ago - and they were mariners, making travel to America more readily available from an earlier period than elsewhere in Europe.
Best wishes and good ancestor hunting - don't believe all that you read, there is a lot of fantasy about some peoples ancestry. See the documentry proof! Peter"
I am an Australian Gorrell who's forebears, most likely, arrived in Australia as "assisted Immigrants" some time during the mid-1800's. The surname Gorrell is not an overly common name in Australia, but even so, it would appear that there may be at least two and possibly three unrelated branches of the family tree here.
My investigation of French phone directories shows no Gorrells whatsoever, but the surnames "Gorel" and "Gaurel" appear to be very common. A brief look at the United Kingdom white pages unearths the occasional small cluster of Gorrells, but pales in comparison to the many thousands of entries i have seen in U.S. directories.
The only account I have of the origin of the name Gorrell comes from a copy of "The Gorrells of Illawarra" a genealogical history by John M Cunningham of Eastbourne New Zealand. His explanation is very similar to yours and he writes [James (Gorrell)'s forebears probably came from France with the Huguenots in 1673 to escape religeous persecution. The name has been said to mean "collarmaker". However reaney (1958) lists the name as in use as early as 1176: 1) middle English Gorrell "a fat paunched person" from old french gorel "pig" 2)old English Garwulf "spear-wolf" 3)"dweller by the muddy spring".
James is believed to have been born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.] [The Gorrells had lived only one generation in Ireland and were weavers of cloth. They had fled from France to England and later Ireland for freedom of worship.]