Show ContentsCavell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. The Cavell history starts with such a migration. As the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames refers either directly or indirectly to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, physical appearance, habits, or character, among other attributes. Flemish names of this type frequently feature the prefixes lile, which meant the. The surname Cavell is a nickname for a bald person. The surname Cavell is a diminutive of the Old French words chauf and cauf, which mean bald. [1]

Early Origins of the Cavell family

The surname Cavell was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from about the year 1200, being originally from Cavell in Flanders.

Portingten, with Cavil is a township, in the parish of Eastrington, union of Howden, wapentake of Howdenshire. "Thence the name easily crossed over into Lincolnshire In some cases it may be represented by some more southern locality." Indeed, following this direction, the Hundredorum Rolls of 12763 list Robert de Cavilla in Lincolnshire. [2] However, the Pipe Rolls of 1190 and 1195 list Roger Caluel, Chauuel in Kent at that time. [1]

In Somerset, Walter Cavel was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [3] John Cavel, was rector of Sizeland, Norfolk [4]

Returning to the original Cornish listing, we found "the manor of Treharrick [in the parish of St. Kew] belonged to a family of that name long before the Reformation; but in the days of Henry VII. it was carried in marriage to the Cavells. From this family it passed by an heiress, about the commencement of the last century, to Thomas Vivian, Esq. of Trenowth." [5]

Early History of the Cavell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cavell research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cavell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cavell Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Cavell, Cavill, Cavil, Cavyl, Cavel, Cavall and others.

Early Notables of the Cavell family

Prominent in the family at this time was

  • Admiral Henry Cavell

United States Cavell migration to the United States +

Some of the first North American settlers with Cavell name or one of its variants:

Cavell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Cavell, who arrived in Virginia in 1699 [6]
Cavell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Cavell, who arrived in Virginia in 1717 [6]

Australia Cavell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cavell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Cavell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke of Wellington" in 1851 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cavell (post 1700) +

  • John Caldicott Cavell (1813-1887), English shop proprietor and mayor of Oxford, co-founder of Elliston & Cavell, the largest department store in Oxford
  • Edith Louisa Cavell (1865-1915), English nurse who helped British soldiers escape over the frontier into Belgium during the Great War. She was shot by the Germans
  • John Kingsmill Cavell (1916-2017), British Anglican bishop and centenarian, Bishop of Southampton (1972–1984)
  • Kingsley Cavell, distinguished Welsh professor of inorganic chemistry
  • Paul Francis Louis Cavell (b. 1946), Australian painter in oil, acrylic watercolour, gouache, pen and ink
  • Stanley Cavell (b. 1926), prominent Harvard-based philosopher

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Percy H Cavell (b. 1919), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [8]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Arthur Frederick Cavell, British Commissioned Electrician, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and died in the sinking [9]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. George Henry Cavell, aged 22, English Trimmer from Sholing Hampshire, England who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 15 [10]

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. 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.
  4. Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  5. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DUKE OF WELLINGTON 1851. Retrieved
  8. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from
  9. HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from
  10. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook