Knowels History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

Knowels is an ancient Norman name, that would have been used in Britain soon after the Conquest of the island in 1066. This name was given to a person who was a person who was connected in some way with the Christmas season. Such a name may have been attached to the person whose duty it was to provide the Yule log to the Lord of the manor, although this connection is by no means exclusive.

Early Origins of the Knowels family

The surname Knowels was first found in Staffordshire at Ranton, home of Ranton Abbey and Ranton Priory, built c.1150 by Robert fitz Noel of Ellenhall. [1] The ruins of Abbey House remain today but most of the building fell to ruin by the late 1600s. For Noel's services as a companion to William the Conqueror, he received the aforementioned priory plus the manors of Ellenhall, Wiverstone, Podmore and Milnese. His eldest son, Robert Noel, Lord of Ellenhall, was granted the greater part of Gainsborough from the Prior of Coventry temp. Henry I. From him derived the Noels of Hilcote and the Noels of the counties of Rutland and Leicester. [2]

"The Hall [of Ellenhall] belonged to the ancient family of the Noels, from whom descended the Noels of Hilcote, in this county, and the Noels of Ridlington, in Rutlandshire; it afterwards passed, with the manor, by marriage, to the Harcourts." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Ralph Noel in Huntingdonshire and Noel de Aubtanis in Somerset. [4] Kirby's Quest listed the name as a forename in Somerset as in: Noel atte Wynde, [5]

The hamlet of Moxhull in Warwickshire played an important part in the family's lineage. "It is situated to the west of the Birmingham and Fazeley canal; and is chiefly distinguished as the residence of Berkeley Noel, Esq., whose seat of Moxhull Park is bounded on the east by the high road: the house was built about the 14th century, and is a substantial edifice, containing some ancient portraits of members of the Noel and Hacket families." [3]

Another branch of the family was found in Exton, Rutland. "The church is a spacious and elegant structure, chiefly in the early, and partly in the later, English style, with a tower strengthened by buttresses, and surmounted by a spire; it contains several finely-executed monuments to the Noel family and their connexions." [3]

Yes another branch of the family was found at Little Mearley in Lancashire. "The hamlet and manor of Little Mearley, in the township, still remain in the descendants of William Nowell, the first grantee under John de Lacy, who died in the year 1240." [3]

Important Dates for the Knowels family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knowels research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1507, 1602, 1515, 1571, 1576, 1558, 1560, 1662, 1641, 1689, 1661, 1690, 1684, 1714, 1590 and 1655 are included under the topic Early Knowels History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knowels Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Noel, Noell, Nole and others.

Early Notables of the Knowels family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Alexander Nowell (c. 1507-1602), an English Puritan theologian and clergyman, Dean of St Paul's; Laurence Nowell (c. 1515-c. 1571), an English antiquarian, a cartographer and a pioneering scholar of Anglo-Saxon language and literature, best known for his Nowell Codex, a collection that included the epic poem Beowulf and a fragment of The Life of Saint Christopher; Laurence Nowell (died 1576) English churchman, Archdeacon of Derby (1558) and later Dean of Lichfield (1560); Sir Martin Noell, knighted in...
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knowels Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Knowels family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Knowels or a variant listed above: Peter Noel and Joseph Noel, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1736; Fred Noel, who arrived in New York in 1837; as well as Charlotte Noel and her husband, who arrived in New York in 1821..

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Citations

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
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