Fonnell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Fonnell date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence near a place where vennel grew. Vennel was an herb used for cooking. Other sources list the name as a local name derived from the term at the vennel. [1]

Early Origins of the Fonnell family

The surname Fonnell was first found in Sussex, where William Fenigle was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for 1327. A few years later, Henry atte Fenegle was found in the Subsidy Rolls of 1332, again in Sussex. William and Christina Fenel were recorded in the Subsidy Rolls for Cambridgeshire in 1327 and the Subsidy Rolls for Somerset, respectively. [1]

"An Alan de Wanile, of Huntingdonshire, and Gilbert de la Venele, of Oxfordshire, are found in the Hundredorum Rolls in the reign of Edward I. If, as I imagine, the name is identical with Venell, Venella, and Venello, it is very numerously represented in the former county, where we find Hugh en la Venele, Ralph en le Venele, Walter ad Venell', Alexander in Venella, Gilbert, Eusebius, Galfrid, and Thomasin entered in the above record; besides John, Peter, and Nicholas de Venele in Kent." [2]

Early History of the Fonnell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fonnell research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1292, 1296, 1661 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Fonnell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fonnell Spelling Variations

Fonnell has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Fonnell have been found, including Fennell, Vennell, Venall, Fenel and others.

Early Notables of the Fonnell family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Fonnell family to Ireland

Some of the Fonnell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Fonnell family

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Fonnells to arrive on North American shores: Robert Fennell, who settled in Virginia in 1623; Edward Fennell who settled in Barbados in 1680 with his wife, children, and servants; as well as Edward, Michael, Patrick and William Fennell, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1865..



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-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


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