Avenalls History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Avenalls arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Avenalls family lived in the county of Derbyshire. However, the family resided in Avenelles in the department of Eure, Normandy before coming to England in the just prior to the major flood of Norman emigration in the 11th century. [1]

Early Origins of the Avenalls family

The surname Avenalls was first found in Derbyshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Nether Haddon from early times. They were descended from Sir des Biars who attended Duke William at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. and also bore the name of Avenals. William Avennel was this same Sire who was Lord of Biars in the canton d'Isigny in Normandy.

"It is clear, however, that they owned a great territory in Derbyshire not long after [the Conquest]; for 'Avenel Haddon' (William Avenel in another deed) is one of the witnesses of the foundation charter of Lenton Priory in the time of Henry I. ; and, by a separate charter, bestowed upon it two manors belonging to his own domain of Haddon. In 1169, Robert Avenel witnessed another donation to this Priory, and the foundation charter of Welbeck Abbey. This may have been the same Robert Avenel des Biarz whose name is appended to a charter granted in 1158 at Tinchebray by the Count de Mortaine to the nuns of Mouton ; but the family was exceptionally numerous, and the coat of arms of Avenel of Haddon, Gules six annulets Argent, does not bear the faintest resemblance to that of the Sires de Biarz, chef de la branche mere, who bore De gueules a trois aigles d'argent." [2]

Haddon Hall near Bakewell, Derbyshire was the site of the 12th-century marriage between Sir Richard de Vernon and Alice Avenell, daughter of William Avenell II. At that time, the hall passed into the Vernon family. Historically, the hall was originally held by William Peverel, illegitimate son of William the Conqueror in 1087. Later the hall was forfeited to the Crown in 1153 and then passed to a tenant of the Peverils, the Avenell family. [3]

The Liber Niger mentions Avenels in Bedfordshire. [4] John de Avenel, jointly with two others, was Sheriff of Gloucester 1187, 1188, 1189: and must have been the father of William de Avenel of the same county, who was a banneret in the time of King John. They bore the six annulets of the house of Haddon. William de Avenel (perhaps the same ?) in the following reign served as knight of the shire for Cambridge, where his name is preserved by Avenel's Manor; and "held Barford-St.-Martin in capite of the King." [2]

In Scotland, "on the other side of the Border, the Avenels held one of the most important of the Marcher baronies. Robert Avenel, the first Lord of Eskdale, was for a short time Justiciary of Lothian, and received his lands from David I., whom he probably accompanied to Scotland. He died a monk of Melrose in 1185, having been one of the principal benefactors of the Abbey. His daughter was the paramour of William the Lion, to whom she bore a daughter named Isabel, the wife of Robert Bruce. His son Gervase confirmed his grants to Melrose; but his grandson Robert disputed them, and had a fierce contest with the monks, which was decided in their favour by the King in person in 1235. (Monastic Annals of Teviotdale.) With this Robert the line ended in 1243; and 'his great domain passed to his son-in-law, Henry de Graham, one of the Magnates Scotiae in the parliament held at Scone in 1283.' " [2]

Early History of the Avenalls family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Avenalls research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 122 and 1220 are included under the topic Early Avenalls History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Avenalls Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Avenells, Avenett, Avenet, Avnett, d'Avenell, Davenel, Davenell, Davenall and many more.

Early Notables of the Avenalls family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Avenalls Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Avenalls family

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Avenalls name or one of its variants: Bartholomew and Richard Avenell who settled in Nevis in 1670; Samuel and Sarah Davenald and three children landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1820..



  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. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)


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