Churchel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Churchel reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Churchel family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Churchel family lived in Somerset in the town of Curcelle. The name Curcelle is of Norman origin, but once in England became confused with name Churchill, which derives from the Old English cyrice, which means church, and hyll, which means hill. The histories of the two names are now inextricably linked.

"The Churchills of Dorset, ancestors of the great Duke of Marlborough, are traceable, by the ordinary heralds' pedigrees, to the reign of Henry VII., bearing a lion rampant, debruised by a bendlet. Prior to this, they were of Devon and Somerset, still bearing the same arms. The Churchills of Devon descended from Elias de Chirchille, temp. Edward I. who married the heiress of Widworthy." [1]

Early Origins of the Churchel family

The surname Churchel was first found in Somerset where one of the first records of the name was Richard de Churchulle who was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. During King Edward III's reign (1327-1377), Nicolas de Churchhull was also listed as holding lands there. [2]

Another source claims "the distinguished Dorset family of Churchill, whence sprang the Duke of Marlborough, resided at Mintern in the 16th and 17th centuries." [3] And another claims "Roger de Corcelles [was] a great Domesday tenant in the western counties, the ancestor of the Dukes of Marlborough. Churchill has, however, a sufficiently English aspect, and as we find four parishes in different counties so called, we need hardly seek for a Norman origin." [4]

This latter quote needs some explanation. The author (Mark Anthony Lower) argues that while yet another source claims the name to be Norman in origin, he feels that the name is presumably Anglo-Saxon in origin. To us, the lion's share of sources claim that the family is of Norman origin and we agree.

Early History of the Churchel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Churchel research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1086, 1620, 1688, 1622, 1682, 1661, 1679, 1656, 1714, 1650, 1722, 1686 and 1703 are included under the topic Early Churchel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Churchel 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 Churchill, Churchell and others.

Early Notables of the Churchel family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Winston Churchill FRS (1620-1688), known as the Cavalier Colonel, an English soldier, historian, and politician, ancestor of his 20th-century namesake, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill; John Churchill (1622-1682), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Dorchester...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Churchel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Churchel 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 Churchel name or one of its variants: Josiah Churchill settled in Wethersfield Connecticut in 1638; Samuel settled in New England in 1654; Roger settled in Virginia in 1663; Sarah arrived in Boston Massachusetts with two children in 1765.

The Churchel Motto +

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: Fiel pero disdichado
Motto Translation: Faithful though unfortunate.

  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. ^ 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. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print. on Facebook
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