Fitznigel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Fitznigel family

The surname Fitznigel was first found in Cheshire where the family is descended from the tenant of the lands of the Baron William FitzNigel who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086. [1]

He was preceded by Nigel of Cotentin (c.1070-1080,) who was the hereditary Constable of Chester. Another early mention is of Nigel (d. 1169,) who was an Anglo-Norman Bishop of Ely, and Lord High Treasurer for both Henry I and Henry II of England. His son Richard FitzNigel, (d. 1198) was Bishop of London (1189-1198) and Treasurer of England (c.1158-1198). [2]

"Tradition says, that the site of the manor of Borstall, in Buckinghamshire, was given by King Edward the Confessor to one Nigel, for his services in slaying a wild boar which infested the forest of Bernwood, to be held by cornage, or the service of a horn; and that the mansion built by him on this land was called Boar-stall, in memory of the slain boar. It appears from an inquisition taken in 1265, that Sir John Fitz Nigel or Fitz Neale then held a hide of arable land, called the Dere-hide, at Borstall, and a wood, called Hull-Wood, by grand serjeantry, as Keeper of the Forest of Bernwood; that their ancestors had possessed these lands, and this office, before the Conquest, and held them by the service of a horn, as the charter of the said forest: that they had been unjustly withheld by the family of Lizures, of whom William Fitz Nigel, father of Sir John, had been obliged to purchase them. It is certain that Borstall passed by marriage from the Fitz Neales to the family of Handlo." [3]

Early History of the Fitznigel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fitznigel research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1424 and 1189 are included under the topic Early Fitznigel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fitznigel Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Nigell, Nigel, FitzNigel, FitzNigell and others.

Early Notables of the Fitznigel family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Fitznigel family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Fitznigel or a variant listed above: Philip Nigel, who settled in Baltimore in 1834; and John Nigal, who arrived in Boston in 1849.



  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ 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


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