Gravell 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 Gravell family lived in the place named Grenneville in the barony of St. Denis de Gaste, Normandy. [1]

Another source claims the family originated at Griuil, or Greville, a castle on Cotentin. [2]

The family name Gravell was brought to England after the Norman Conquest, when William the Conqueror gave his friends and relatives most of the land formerly owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats. The Normans frequently used the name of their estate in Normandy as part of their name. The surname Gravell was established by Norman landholders in the county of Buckinghamshire.

Early Origins of the Gravell family

The surname Gravell was first found in Buckinghamshire where they held a family seat soon after the Norman Conquest. They are believed to be from Grenneville in the barony of St. Denis de Gaste in the Cotentin in Normandy.

Accompanying the Conqueror at Hastings in 1066 the family, father William and son Robert, became under-tenants of the Giffards in Buckinghamshire. Richard, son of Robert, married Isabel, daughter and heiress of Gautier Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, thus inheriting the title which would later become the Duke of Buckingham. Although the Harleian Society claims there is no relationship to the west country Grevilles in Gloucester, a branch which emerged about 1250, we find this most unlikely.

The similarity of the Coat of Arms of each of these families is more than conclusive evidence that the Grevilles of Gloucester were directly related to the Grenvilles of Buckinghamshire, although it must be admitted there was a noble family of Lagravol or Greville in Montfaucon-du-Velay in Forez also emerging in the 13th century.

"They were seated at Drayton in Oxfordshire (the adjoining county to Bucks) which Leland calls " the veri ancient house of the Gravilles": and their ancestor, John Greville (or Grenville) appears to be the same who is mentioned by Collins as of Wotton in 1308, and whose father John, son of John de Grenville, was living in 1305." [2]

Early History of the Gravell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gravell research. Another 156 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1267, 1554, 1628, 1607, 1643, 1628, 1658, 1643, 1658, 1677, 1720, 1699, 1701, 1701 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Gravell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gravell 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 Greville, Grevill, Graville, Gravill, Gravell, Gravelle, Gravel, Grevil, Grevile, Gravile and many more.

Early Notables of the Gravell family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Fulke Greville first Lord Brooke (1554-1628), English poet, only son of Sir Fulke Greville, by Ann, daughter of Ralph Neville, earl of Westmorland, was born at the family seat, Beauchamp Court, Warwickshire; Sir Edward Greville of Milcote; Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke (1607-1643), an English Civil War Roundhead General, the cousin and adopted son of Fulke...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gravell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gravell migration to the United States +

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 Gravell or a variant listed above:

Gravell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Gravell, who settled in Jamaica in 1685
  • John Gravell, aged 16, who settled in Jamaica in 1685

Contemporary Notables of the name Gravell (post 1700) +

  • Karl Mander Gravell GC (1922-1941), Canadian airman posthumously awarded the George Cross for the heroism he showed on the 10 November 1941 in Calgary, Alberta
  • Raymond William Robert Gravell (b. 1951), former Welsh rugby union player

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Jack Gravell, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [3]


  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 2 of 3
  3. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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