Fitznigell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Fitznigell family

The surname Fitznigell 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 Fitznigell family

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

Fitznigell 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 Nigell, Nigel, FitzNigel, FitzNigell and others.

Early Notables of the Fitznigell family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Fitznigell 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 Fitznigell 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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