Hazell's of Co Norfolk
Synopsis: A one-name study of Hazell's/Hazle's in Co Norfolk, England

Surname Index Page Norfolk Index Hazell's - main page Hazell's of Pulham & Pulham Market Other Hazell's of Co Norfolk

Caution - some of these files are quite large, so please be patient while the files display

Reproduction for the purpose of financial gain is prohibited. Redistribution of this material, in part or in its entirety, to a genealogical website/service which resells or charges for access is strictly prohibited - the material on this page is intended to be available free of charge and with unrestricted access. The data contained herein is for the most part either public domain or copyright of various statutory authorities, unless specified otherwise in the sources, and cannot be copyrighted by a third party. I make no claim regarding the accuracy of this chart; the original sources are not free from error and transcriptions may contain errors. 2011, David Powell, http://roots-boots.net/ft/names.html

"This interesting surname has two origins; firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, a topographical name for someone who lived near a hazel tree or grove, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "haesel". Secondly, it may be of Old Norse origin, a locational name from places so called, for example "Hessle" in the East and West Riding of Yorkshire, and "Heazille Barton", "Heazle Farm", in Devonshire, deriving from the Old Norse "hesli" meaning hazel grove. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include Hugh de Hesill (1204), in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire, and William atte Hasele (1275), in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire. Variations in the spelling of the surname include: Hazel, Hazael, Hasel, Hasell, Haisell, Heazel, Heazell, and Hessel. London Church Records list the marriage of John Hasell to Margaret Rownde on December 2nd 1553 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and the christening of William, son of Thomas Hazell, on April 18th 1593 at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alured del Hesel, which was dated circa 1182, in the "Studies on Middle English Surnames", Worcestershire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 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."[Internet Surname Database]

As part of my investigations into my own Hazell family which came from Pulham/Pulham Market, Co Norfolk, I examined all available records of Hazell's across the entire county, partly to determine if any loose ends from Pulham re-appeared elsewhere (as they did - one branch actually ended up in County Somerset, via Norwich), but also to complete the study of the Hazell family.

Post-1800 extensive use was made of Free-BMD, the 1901 census online site (which contains indices for all UK censuses from 1841-1901), the IGI, FreeREG (the parish register version of Free-BMD), the 1851 Norfolk census (on CD-ROM from the LDS) and various other transcription projects. A wealth of information is available for the post-1800 period, almost all of which (over 99%) is charted on these pages. Prior to 1800 the main sources used have been the IGI, Free-REG and the Norfolk Transcription Archive. Unfortunately pre-1800 records for Co Norfolk are in a rather poor condition with few parishes having managed to preserve their records much earlier than 1800. Consequently going back to 1800 is easy, but going further back is generally not possible unless one is lucky to strike one of the few parishes that have well preserved records prior to 1800. I am fortunate in that Pulham & Pulham Market are amongst the small number of parishes for which records are well preserved back to before 1700, but even there there are some gaps. There are enough scattered references to Hazell's in Norfolk in the 1600's (and even some in the 1500's) to indicate the surname was fairly widespread across Co Norfolk even in those early times, pointing to a ubiquitous origin for the surname.

Post 1800 there appear to be 9 main groups of Hazell's living in Co Norfolk (A to I below), along with another 4 who either died out or left the county by the early 1800's (J to L, plus the Pulham Hazell's).Whether any of these groups are related to any of the others is likely impossible to tell, given the patchy nature of the pre-1800 records for Norfolk. Given that in at least some cases, the surname "Hazell" is probably derived from the hazel tree, which is common across much of Norfolk, it is likely the name arose independently across the county, in much the same way as Smith, Brown etc would have arisen. Hazell's in the far west of Norfolk likely include some who have crossed the border from Cambridgeshire, where the name is not uncommon (see the charts on the Hassell's of Cambridgeshire). The name also appears in Suffolk where it likely shares a similar origin to that in Norfolk.

Please do not hesitate to email me with any corrections &/or additions to these charts. Whilst AFAIK the Hazell's on this page are not related to mine (of Pulham), I am happy to update these charts should new information arise.

Records post 1800 are almost complete, especially with FreeBMD (>99% complete) and the various census records. This is further enhanced by parish records from a number of independent transcription projects. There is also a number of PRs from pre-1700 available in the IGI. Not all parishes are indexed in the IGI, of course, but some of the gaps are filled by other transcription projects. That, unfortunately, leaves the crucial 1700-1800 period where available records for Norfolk appear to be very poor (as of 2008). Whether this is due to available records yet to be transcribed or the records themselves having been lost is unknown. Many of the transcribed PR's I have found have actually been taken from BT's (Bishop Transcripts) and AT's (Archdeacon transcripts), prepared at the time from summaries send by the parish priests into their local bishop and/or archdeacon. The fact that transcribers have resorted to BT's and AT's suggests the original parish records are no longer available. This is perhaps not surprising since Norfolk has not "enjoyed" the population boom that other parts of England have experienced over the past 200 years or so. The population of the whole county has only doubled since the early 1800's and that increase has been very uneven across the county - vast swathes of the county now lie uninhabited or very sparsely whilst most of the population is now found concentrated in the three major population centres: Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn. The remainer of the county is full of abandoned churches, some still lovingly maintained by the local villagers as community centres, shrines to the past and tourist attractions, but all too many have long since fallen into ruin. The fate of the records of those churches is dubious at best. Even with the surviving parishes, preservation of parish records seems to be spotty. In one parish in my own line at one time an "enlightened" rector for some unknown reason destroyed many years of parish records prior to his appointment. He was "retired", but by then the damage had been done.

Other researchers:

People who have an interest in the Hazell family, not necessarily related to my Hazell's. This is not a comprehensive list, just a listing of those whom I have been in contact with. Some of these email addresses may no longer be valid.