Avenell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 added many new elements to an already vibrant culture. Among these were thousands of new names. The Avenell 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. 
Early Origins of the Avenell family
The surname Avenell 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." 
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. 
The Liber Niger mentions Avenels in Bedfordshire.  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." 
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.' " 
Early History of the Avenell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Avenell research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 122 and 1220 are included under the topic Early Avenell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Avenell Spelling Variations
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 Avenells, Avenett, Avenet, Avnett, d'Avenell, Davenel, Davenell, Davenall and many more.
Early Notables of the Avenell family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Avenell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Avenell migration to the United States +
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 Avenell or a variant listed above:
Avenell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Bartholomew and Richard Avenell who settled in Nevis in 1670
Contemporary Notables of the name Avenell (post 1700) +
- Grady Avenell (b. 1972), American vocalist for the hardcore-metal band Will Have
Related Stories +
- ^ 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)
- ^ 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
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)