Origin of Surname
This surname is of early medieval French origin, and is a nickname for a person with reddish-brown hair, from the Old French Sorel, reddish-brown and the Anglo-Norman-French word sor, chestnut.
The name was probably introduced to England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, as the first recording of the surname dates from the early 12th Century. William Sorell appears in the Pipe Rolls of Suffolk, in 1130 during the reign of King Henry 1
The name is fairly common in Normandy and is thought to have arrived from there to the Channel Islands in the person of refugee Jean Sorel during the 18th century (see tree below). He is not listed among Huguenot abjurations and probably arrived too late to be considered a Huguenot refugee.
Family tradition states that the member of this family who settled in Jersey was almoner of the Church of Condé-sur-Noireau, in Normandy, and who, being converted to the Reformed faith, and consequently necessitated to fly his native country, was conveyed to a place of safety in the basket in which the loaves were distributed to the poor of his parish. At the period of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, when this incident occurred, a collateral member of the same family reached England, and settled in Spitalfields.
- Sorrell, found in 17th century Jersey baptism records but apparently died out
- Sorel baptisms in Jersey
- Sorel marriages in Jersey (groom)
- Sorel marriages in Jersey (bride)
- Sorel burials in Jersey
Great War service
- Wyndham Lucas Sorel (1880-1956) was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the second highest award for bravery after the Victoria Cross. We have been unable to find any information about the circumstances surrounding this award but it must have been before 1919, and therefore probably during WW1, because he already had the DSO when in 1919 he was awarded the Greek Medal for Military Merit, 3rd Class. In 1925, while still a temporary Lieut-Colonel in the Royal Army Service Corps, he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, 4th Class, by the King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
- Francis Peter Sorel (1890- ) (St H), the son of Frank and Mary Sorel, is listed in the World War 1 Jersey Roll of Service as a Rifleman in the 7th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star and honourably discharged in June 1917 after suffering an abdominal wound on 15 April 1916.
These wills created by members of the Sorel family are now held by Jersey Archive. By visiting the archive site and using the names, dates and reference numbers shown here, it is possible to view a copy of each will. You will have to subscribe to the Archive's online service to do this. To find out more about this collection, which covers the period from 1663 to 1980, and how to search for your family's wills there, visit our Jersey wills page
- Esther Sorel bequeaths to The Parochial District Visiting Society £5; to the Channel Islands Female Penitentiary £5 - 14 June 1907, D/Y/A/66
- Ann Sorel of 21 Duhamel Place, now of the Guernsey and Jersey Hotel, Southampton, widow - 17 June 1886, D/Y/A/45
- Anne Sorel of St Helier - 3 March 1888, D/Y/A/47
- Elizabeth Sorel of St Helier - 6 November 1869, D/Y/A/34
- Jean Sorel of St Helier, bequeaths to the poor of St Helier, £120 of French currency 26 May 1820 - D/Y/A/19
- Philippe Sorel of St Helier - 10 October 1890, D/Y/A/49
- Thomas Sorel of St Helier - 30 August 1866, D/Y/A/33
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