The Surname STEEL

The Surname STEEL is possibly derived from Old English style, stele "steel"

Once everyone was known by a single name only. As the population increased and people traveled they encountered others of the same name and overcame the confusions by adopting or being accorded additional appellations which were coined from several sources. Thus a man named John who was hard or reliable as steel might be known as "John (the) Steel" in order to distinguish him from others of the same name. In the course of time the additional appellation became hereditary as a surname, ceasing to have nay reference to the bearers personal characteristics.

Steel is mentioned in several early records and a nineteenth century survey revealed that among farming families (probably the most sedentary in the community) the surname occurred most frequently in Cumberland and Westmoreland (0.6%), Staffordshire (0.26%), the West Riding of Yorkshire (0.15%) and Suffolk (0.7%).

Early records mention Walter Stel who appears in an Oxfordshire charter in 1206; Robert Stel in Lancashire Assize Rolls in 1278; Jordan le Stel, in Essex Feet of Fines in 1324; and Robert Steel, in Sussex Subsidy Rolls in 1327.

William Steele (died 1680) became Recorder of London in 1649 and a member of Parliament in 1654. He was disabled by illness from taking part in the trial of Charles 1 but was involved in the prosecution of royalists. In 1656 he was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Sir Richard Steele (1672-1729) was an author, playwright and politician, entering Parliament in 1713. He began the ''Tatler'' in 1709, which he carried on with the help of Addison, and was later associated with the ''Spectator''. Sir Scudamore Steel (1789-1865) followed a military career in India, serving in the Mahatra and Burmese Wars and attaining the rank of lieutenant-general. Sir John Steell (1804-1891) was appointed sculptor to Queen Victoria for Scotland in 1838 and was knighted on the inauguration of the Scottish memorial to Prince Albert in 1876. His brother, Gourlay Steell (1819-1894) became animal painter to Queen Victoria for Scotland in 1872.

The STEEL family in Westmorland

The Steel family in the Westmorland area originates in the Appleby region. The earliest Steel traced so far is George Steel who was born in the late 1600's possibly in Crackenthorpe, a small village just north of Appleby. His marriage and death are registered in St Michael's church Bondgate, Appleby which is the church for Crackenthorpe. From then the family expanded, my particular line comes via William his son, born around 1720. The Steel's were farming families and seem to have spread out from Appleby to other areas of Westmorland, but so far no connection has been made with the Steel's in West Cumberland. Links have been traced to Bolton/Morland, KIrkby Stephen, Warcop and Kendal. There are some branches of the Steel family in other areas of Westmorland, which although probably related have not yet been linked into the main tree.

The Steel Tree

use this link to access the Steel part of the family tree.

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