The name Ella or Aella
Just found this site and noticed some comments on the name Aella or Ella.My grandmother was Nancy Ella and my surname is Ford however just before my grandmother died she asked me to change my name by deedpoll to Ella-Ford to keep the surnam Ella alive. As far as i was aware at that time she was one of the last Ella`s if not the last alive in the UK (cant be sure as i only had her word on it)
I did as she asked me and have had the double barrell surname eversince.The name Ella is derived from the Northumbrian King Aella who my grandmothers family were related to down the ages when each county or shire in England had its own King. Unfortunately he did not last long however he is notoriously famous for killing Ragnar (from the great Norse stories) by throwing him into a pit of snakes. I cringe whenever i see the Vikings series depictiong Ragnor the way only the americans could with pure hollywood style.Aella met an untimely death by having his back cut open and his rib cage pulled out and spread on his back like a birds wings whlst still alive.There is a movie made in the 1960`s with Tony Curtis called "The Vikings" with Aella showing up in the movie. Have not seen it myself but again i can only imagine that its pretty bad.Lastly i do believe there was two Aboriganl brothers called Ella who played rugby in Australia but i really need to do some homework to confirm that.
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The surname Ella is much more common than you think as you can see at
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First, as Marc has pointed out, this name is extant and not too rare.
Second, although I have not been able to learn the meaning of this name, I doubt that it derives from the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Aella.
Ella is a name that is extant in my home town (Hull, Yorkshire), and I put together the following notes to post elsewhere.ELLA Not much to say about this name, another that has avoided the attention of the experts. Perhaps these notes will attract the attention of the better informed.
It appears to be a Yorkshire name, though not a common one. I thought at first that it might derive from two linked place names of the Hull area, Kirkella and Westella. However, though 'kirk' and 'west' are later additions "Ella" alone is not recorded. Mediaeval 13th century spellings suggest that a version like Elveley or Elfley was then in use. "Kirkelley" is shown on Speed's map of 1601.
So the surname resists explanation.
A couple of Hull notices -
John Ella, son of Richard Ella, of Sculcoates, fishmonger, was apprenticed to Thomas Blanch, Humber pilot, 10th January 1812.
William Ella, "a poor boy" apparently of Welton Parish, aged 14, was apprenticed as a house servant and gardener to John Carrick, esquire, burgess, 22nd December 1815.
Both notices from the Hull Register of Apprentices (1809-20), in the city archives.
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You'll find Ella, Kirk and West in Ekwall and Mills, for instance. Its origin is purported to be Ælfanlēah 'woodland clearing (lēah) of a man called Ælf(a).
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A-HA! I have both of those works but it never occurred to me to look under "Ella" as both names are written as one word. Thanks, Marc.
On the OE personal name Aella/Ella; East Yorkshire was a kingdom in the early Middle Ages, called Deira. One king of Deira was named Ella (d.558), and I've seen Kirkella explained as the "church of (King) Ella". Clearly not correct.
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I don't know about the one-word spellings. Ekwall and Mills both write these placenames as two words and so does the Wikipedia article at
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You're right. I've now looked at several local maps and all have Kirk Ella and West Ella. Locally, it seems to me, the two words tend to be written as one. My son tells me he daily passes a signpost pointing the way to "Kirkella". The road map covering the Kirk Ella area shows a West Ella Road with a Westella Way running parallel to it.
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