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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Cantrell family come from? What is the English Cantrell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Cantrell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Cantrell family history?

The name Cantrell was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cantrell family lived in Lancashire. The family descend from a Norman noble who arrived from the area of Chantarel, Normandy with the 1066 invasion. The name is possibly derived from the Old French word chanterelle, which translates in English to a small bell.

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Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Cantrell, Cantrel, Cantrill, Cantril, Chantrell and many more.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cantrell research. Another 163 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 120 and 1200 are included under the topic Early Cantrell History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Cantrell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Cantrell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 45 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Cantrell or a variant listed above:

Cantrell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Cantrell, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Mary Cantrell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1685

Cantrell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • D. Cantrell arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • E. Cantrell, aged 47, who emigrated to America from Liverpool, in 1896
  • Mrs. Frank Cantrell, aged 54, who emigrated to the United States, in 1896

Cantrell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Joseph F. Cantrell, aged 37, who settled in America from Birmingham, in 1906
  • Miss A.L. Cantrell, aged 50, who landed in America, in 1906
  • Daisy Cantrell, aged 28, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Alice A. Cantrell, aged 25, who landed in America from Bedford, England, in 1911
  • Bessie Cantrell, aged 40, who emigrated to the United States, in 1911


Cantrell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Cantrell, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia

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  • Laura Cantrell (b. 1967), American country singer-songwriter and DJ
  • Willard "Bill" Cantrell (1914-1986), American midget, sprint, and stock car racing driver
  • William "Wild Bill" Cantrell (1908-1996), American power boat and IndyCar driver, inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992
  • Blu Cantrell (b. 1976), born Tiffany Cobb, American Grammy Award-nominated R&B and soul singer
  • Private Charles P. Cantrell (1874-1948), American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery
  • Rob Cantrell, American comedian
  • Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. (b. 1966), American guitarist, singer, and songwriter
  • Doreen Cantrell FRS,CBE, FRSE, FMedSci, British scientist and Professor of Cellular Immunology at the University of Dundee
  • Lana Eleanor Cantrell AM (b. 1943), Australian Grammy Award nominated singer and entertainment lawyer
  • Peter Edward Cantrell (b. 1962), Australian-born, Dutch cricketer


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  • The Cantrill-Cantrell Genealogy: A Record of the Descendants of Richard Cantrill, Who Was a Resident of Philadelphia Prior to 1689, and of Earlier Cantrills in England and America by Susan Cantrill Christie.
  • Letters to My Grandchildren by Sabra Phillips Cantrell.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Propio vos sanguine pasco
Motto Translation: I feed you with kindred blood.

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  1. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  11. ...

The Cantrell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cantrell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 19 June 2015 at 10:00.

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