Harvill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Harvill came to England with the ancestors of the Harvill family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Harvill family lived in Harivel which is "very common in Normandy. It is synonymous with Haridelle, still found in our modem dictionaries. 'Harivels,' or 'harivilliers,' are frequently seen at our fairs; they are persons dealing only in 'harins' or 'haridelles,' small or inferior horses, leaving the trade in riding horses and animals of a superior quality to the regular horse dealers.' There exists, however, an aristocratic family named Le Harivel, that is found in Normandy as early as the fifteenth century, and once possessed several important fiefs, such as Sourdeval, Beaumanoir, Maizet, Gonneville, Flagy, &c. It furnished proofs of its nobility in 1463, and in 1671 was again declared Estre noble par charte de franc-fiefs. " [1]

Harwell is a parish, in the union of Wantage, hundred of Moreton, Berkshire. Now part of Oxfordshire, this parish dates back to Saxon times when it was known as Haranwylle in 956. [2] By the time of the Domesday Book of 1086, it was known as Harvvelle. [3]

Harwell is also a parish of Everton, union of East Retford, North Clay division of the wapentake of Bassetlaw, N. division of the county of Nottingham. [4]

The place name literally means "spring or stream by the hill called Hara (the grey one)." [2]

Early Origins of the Harvill family

The surname Harvill was first found in Somerset where "John de Harewell was chaplain to Edward the Black Prince, Chancellor of Gascony, and Bishop of Wells. He lies buried before the altar of St. Calix in Wells Cathedral. " [1]

"A Cecilia de Harewell, and her son Robert are mentioned in 1202 in Oxfordshire (Rotuli Cancellarii): but I cannot find that the name occurs there again." [5]

Another source notes that an early Latin form of the name, Cecilia de Harewella was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1194. The same source also notes Thomas de Harwell in London in 1325-1326 and John Harwell in the Feet of Fines of Warwickshire 1496-1497. [6]

Early History of the Harvill family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harvill research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1043, 1352, 1486, 1566, 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Harvill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harvill Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Harewell, Harwell, Harwall, Harewall and others.

Early Notables of the Harvill family (pre 1700)

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

Harvill Ranking

In the United States, the name Harvill is the 14,603rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [7]

Migration of the Harvill family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Harvill or a variant listed above: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..


Contemporary Notables of the name Harvill (post 1700) +

  • Alex Harvill (1992-1993), American motorcycle stunt performer who died during a test motorcycle ramp jump; he held a Guinness World Record for the longest dirt to dirt motorcycle ramp jump
  • Halbert Harvill (1893-1986), American university president, basketball and baseball coach, and politician


  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. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm


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