Davonel 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 Davonel 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 Davonel family

The surname Davonel 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 Davonel family

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

Davonel Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Avenells, Avenett, Avenet, Avnett, d'Avenell, Davenel, Davenell, Davenall and many more.

Early Notables of the Davonel family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Davonel family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Davonel or a variant listed above: 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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