This is an ancient surname which is also recorded in the spellings Cornall, Cornell, Cornwall, and Cornwell. These are nearly all locational in origin and appear to derive from Cornwall or Cornhill, and it is usually impossible to say with absolute certainty which location a particular nameholder descends from. 'Cornhill' is usually associated with the site of the famous market in London where corn was traded for centuries, and as such may be occupational for somebody who worked there. The late Professor Reaney, the leading authority on English surnames had a further suggestion that some nameholders could derive from the French 'Corneille' meaning the 'crow' but in this sense applied to a chatterer or gossip! He quotes Henry Corneille in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1206 in the reign of King John as an example. Curiously the near same spelling occurs in 1621 when King James 1st gave permission for 227 Flemings and Walloons to emigrate to the new colony of 'Virginea'. Amongst these people was one Pierre Cornille (as spelt) whose occupation was given as 'vine dresser'. Early examples of the Cornhill surname include William Cornhul of Yorkshire in the 1214 Curia Regis rolls, Henry de Cornhell in the London register of 1229-31 and Bartholomew ate Cornhill, in the 1311 Colchester Court registers. Later examples are those of Charity Cornhill, christened at St Michaels Church, Cornhill, London, on May 20th 1655, and Birch Cornhill christened at the same church on February 2nd 1664. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gervase de Cornhill, which was dated 1179, the pipe rolls of the county of Kent, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder', 1154 - 1189. 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.

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