The Reffell family is believed by many to have originated as Huguenots, although no definitive evidence as yet been found. These were Protestants who became the centre of a political and religious upheaval in Catholic France and the Low Countries during the 1500s and 1600s. Most of the newcomers quickly adapted to their new country and within a few generations a large number had converted to the Church of England. Others kept their faith and remained Calvinists or other nonconformist religions, but all remained violently anti-Catholic.
The earliest reference in the UK to the Reffell surname appears in parish registers for the county of Surrey. The first recorded instance found so far being the baptisms of Henry (1572), Alice (1576) and Ellen (1578) to Anthony Reffell and an unrecorded spouse at St Mary Worplesdon.
In the next century there are baptisms in Ewhurst during 1659 and just over the Sussex border there are baptisms, marriages and burials between 1680 and 1714 at St Laurence Lurgashall. The Lady Day (25 March) Hearth Tax of 1664 showed a William Reffell at Ewhurst and a Henry Reffew at Woking.