Entry in Black's


Probably local from Burrill in North Riding of Yorkshire (in 1282 Burel, Burrell in 1568). This name is early found upon the border, particularly in the East Marches. Henry Burel witnessed charter of the church of Pencathlan to the Abbey of Kelso c. 1180 (Kelso, 389). William Bwrel attested a document concerning the land of Cnoc in Renfrew, 1234 (RMP., p.180). William Burel witnessed gift of land in Ayton to William Scot of Coldingham, c. 1250 (Raine, 202). Alan Burell witnessed a charter by Malcolm, fourth earl of Lennox, 1285 (Levenax, p87). John Burelle was one of an inquest at Roxburgh, 1357 (Bain IV, 1). The lands of Swynset and Raynaldstoune in the sherrifdom of Roxburgh, belonging to Robert Bwrelle were forfeited by him and in 1391 were confirmed to William of Laundelis and Jonet his spouse (RMS, I, 813). Henry Burell was witness in Glasgow, 1477 (REG., p.462), Andrew Burell, chaplain there, 1504 (Simon. 88), and George Burell bailie there, 1536 (LCD., p.98) John Borelle alias Steward (born in the village of Morthyngton) had letters of denisation in England, 1482 (Bain, IV, 1473). John Burrell, witness in Fife, 1542 (Laing, 464), Thomas Burrale, baxter in Aberdeen, 1544 (CRA., p. 206), and Alexander Burrell was owner of a saltpan in Kirkaldy, 1573 (RPC., II p.265). John Burel or Burell, a poet, wrote a description of Anne of Denmark's entry into Edinburgh, 1590, preserved in Watson's collection. The name is common in sixteenth Glasgow protocols. Burelle (of Tevydale) 1391, Burl 1488, Burrel 1505.

See also


John Burell in Newton of Glendall (Northumberland) had a charter in 1387, and in 1449 Edmund Burell was Burgess of Berwick ( Laing, 76, 127). Andrew Birrell or Burrell, baillie and burgess of Kircaldy, 1540 (Dysart, p 5), appears again between 1574-1579 (Laing, 892, 977) Sir Andrew Burell, a Pope's knight, held land in Glasgow, 1549, William Birell was a witness there, 1550, and Henry Burell sold a tenement there in the following year ( Protocols, I). John Burirrell is recorded in Gargunnok, parish of St. Ninians, 1607 (Stirling), George Berrill was portioner of Kinnesswood and Comissioner of Supply for Kinross-shire, 1685 (APS., VIII, p. 468), and James Birrell was shipmaster in Dundee, 1776 (Brechin). Perhaps simply a variant of BURRELL (above).

For an alternative source of the name :

Entry in History through Surnames

The textile industry was of great importance during the period when surnames were being formed. It was widely dispersed, not concentrated, as later, in particular areas and there was considerable division of labour. This meant the appearance of many surnames associated with wool and related trades.

A Borel (Burrel, Burrell, Burrells and Borell) was a coarse reddish-brown cloth.

Eminent Burrells and Families

John Burrel, or Burel, a minor poet, noted above in Blacks. Wrote a description in verse of the entry of Anne of Denmark, the queen of James the Sixth, into Edinburgh in 1590, preserved in Watson's Collection of Scots poems, was a burgess of Edinburgh, and is supposed to have been a goldsmith, and one of the printers at the king's mint.

..... to be continued

Sir William Burrell ( 1861- 1958), born in Glasgow, the son of a shipping agent, made a fortune before he was forty and retired soon afterwards, to devote the rest of his long life to amassing an art collection many of whose individual parts stand comparison with the holdings of almost any museum in the world. The Burrell Collection was opened in 1983 in a gallery specially designed and built to display it.

Burrell's ancestors came from Northumberland and are likely to have been a cadet branch of the Burrels of Broome-park. In the last years of the seventeenth century, William Burrell had become the owner of the township of Bassington, in the parish of Eglingham near Alnwick - a small estate of some 236 acres with a single farmhouse.

Tom Paterson - Last updated 25 Jan 2019