The surname of BURCHELL was derived from the Old English word ‘burchele’ the dweller by the beech-trees. The name of a place in Berkshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Bechehill (without surname) 1335 County Chester. William de la Bechill, was documented in 1340 in the county of Berkshire. Thomas Burchill of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. A notable member of the name was William John Burchill (1782-1863) the English botanist and naturalist born in Fulham. He travelled in South Africa (1810-15), as described in his ‘Travels in the Interior of South Africa’, and he collected many species new to science. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.