Durnall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Durnall comes from one of the family having worked as a grower of darnel, a plant believed to induce intoxication. The name's origins are Old French; darnel is the French name for this plant. It was brought into England by the Normans after the Norman Conquest of 1066. [1]

Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.

Occasionally the name was local; there is a Darnall in Yorkshire, and a small group of people took their name from that location. [2]

Early Origins of the Durnall family

The surname Durnall was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire at Darnell, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Sheffield, S. division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill. Darnhall is a township in Cheshire, 6 miles from Middlewich and this township may also be the origin of the name. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Agnes Darnel, Suffolk; Henry Darnel, Cambridgeshire; and

William Darnel, Huntingdonshire. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Thomas Darnal and Roger Dernele as holding lands there at that time. [4]

However, we must look to the aforementioned Suffolk to find the first record of the family; for it is there that Goduine Dernel was listed c. 1095. Later, Godwin Darnel was also listed there in 1177. Tomas Darnele was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1193. [1]

Early History of the Durnall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Durnall research. Another 122 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1095, 1177, 1193, 1379, 1638, 1604, 1645, 1711, 1605, 1675, 1683, 1689, 1706, 1672, 1735 and 1710 are included under the topic Early Durnall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Durnall Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Durnall have been found, including: Darnell, Darnall, Darnoll, Darnel, Darnal, Darnol, Darnhill, Dartnall, Dartnell and many more.

Early Notables of the Durnall family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Thomas Darnell, 1st Baronet (died c. 1638), an English landowner, at the centre of a celebrated state legal case in the reign of Charles I of England, often known as the "Five Knights' Case" but to the lawyers of the period as "Darnell's Case." Philip Darnall (born 1604), was an English barrister; and his son, Colonel Henry Darnall (1645-1711), emigrated to North America to become a wealthy Maryland Roman Catholic planter, 3rd Baron Baltimore...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Durnall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Durnall family

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Durnall, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were : Thomas Darnel, who arrived in Maryland in 1684; Richard Durnel, a bonded passenger who arrived in Barbados in1669; Mr. & Mrs. H. Darnell who arrived in San Francisco California with 2 children in 1856.


Contemporary Notables of the name Durnall (post 1700) +

  • Frank M. Durnall, American politician, Mayor of Newark, Delaware, 1957 [5]


The Durnall 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: Deus nobiscum
Motto Translation: God be with us.


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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