Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley


The surname Russell is generally allied to the French Rosel and is probably connected to "rous", red. The Russells of Aden in Aberdeenshire descend from one Rozel, Rosel or Russell, an English baron who accompanied Edward III of England at the siege of Berwick and at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333 and decided to settle in Scotland, being designated Russell of that Ilk. A Robert Russell of Berwickshire paid homage to Edward I in 1296 and Adam Rossel was received to the King of England's peace in 1321. In 1600 Alexander Russell purchased property near Elgin and his son Patrick Russell who married a sister of Archbishop Sharp bought part of the lands of Moncoffer, Banffshire which were sold by his grandson, Alexander Russell who in turn purchased the land of Aden and other estates in Aberdeenshire. The Russells of Ashiesteel, Selkirkshire distinguished themselves by their military achievements; Colonel William Russell led the storming of Manilla and was engaged in India and his son Major-General Sir James Russell who served in the East Indies.

RUSSELL: Many authorities give the name as originating in France - deriving from 'de Rozel' - and such might be the case for many. However, in Scotland at least, it could equally have derived from some remote ancestor being of 'ruddy' complexion and described as rous, or rousel(red). In the early records the name is usually accompanied by the word 'dictus' (called), and seldom by 'de'(of), - as in William dictus Rousel. The name first appears in Scotland in the 12th century when a Walter Russell witnessed a charter to Paisley Abbey, and many others are recorded before the coming of the Anglo-Norman baron who, by his service to Edward III at Berwick and Halidon Hill (1333), gained a foothold in Scotland. This noble's descendants were later designated Russell of that Ilk and founded many lineages of the name. The Russells of Aden and Montcoffer, who held property in the shires of Aberdeen and Banff, were descended from this man and these territorial associations probably account for some authorities listing them as septs of the once powerful Cummings. In the Borders the name is represented by the Russells of Ashiestiel, a family which provided valiant leaders for the British Army during its campaigns on the Indian sub-continent during the 18th and 19th centuries. Individual Russells have also figured in the Scottish tapestry for, in Glasgow in 1539, a Greyfriar named Jerome Russell, was burned at the stake for heresy and, two centuries later, Alexander Russell and his brother Patrick left their native Edinburgh to gain note as physicians, the former at St Thomas' Hospital in London, the latter during the great plague which swept Aleppo, Italy in 1760. Scottish ancestry should not be claimed on the basis of name alone as many Russells whose families span many centuries of occupation in England and Ireland are quite unrelated. Evidence of genealogical or geographical association should be established before Scottish ancestry is claimed. No chief is presently identified for the name and if clan links are sought, such would only be appropriate to those descended from Russells originating in the North whose traditional affiliation is with the Cummings. 

There is a common misconception that the name Russell comes from the word rousel, often stated as the diminutive of rous, the old French word for red. This is incorrect. The diminutive of rous was rousset, not rousel.

More recent research indicates that the name Russell stems originally from a Norman, Hugh de Rosel who arrived in England in 1066. His estate in Normandy took its name Rosel, from the nearby village of that name. Some of his descendants migrated to Scotland and Ireland, spelling their names Russell.

Additional evidence that the name Russell evolves from Rosel is provided by the fact that the Aberdeenshire Russells are descendants of an English baron Rosel, who purchased estates in Aberdeenshire Scotland, after the battle of Halidon Hill in 1333.

Kind Regards, Charles Russell.




This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus