Kesal History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Kesal. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Kesal family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Kesal is a local type of surname and the Kesal family lived in the county of Cornwall, in the village of Kestell.

Early Origins of the Kesal family

The surname Kesal was first found in Cornwall, where the family are known to have been resident at Kestell, in the parish of Egoshayle from the time of King John till the year 1737. [1]

"The manor of Kestell or Kestle in the [parish of Manccan, Cornwall], was formerly the property of a family thus named, and on which they had their seat. This family becoming extinct in the male line in 1719, the barton passed in moieties with two daughters, who married Langford and Penrose. " [2] Now known as Kestle and Kestle Mill, these hamlets are just south of Quintrell Downs.

"The manor of Pendavy, [in the parish of Egloshayle] which was formerly connected with the priory of Bodmin, was afterwards the property of the Kestel family, from whom it passed by marriage to that of Moyle, and by this family it was sold to the Usticks, by whom it was possessed in the days of Hals. It is now the property of Sir A. O. Molesworth. Kestel, which is so called from its having had on some of its lands, a camp, castle, or intrenchment, belonged so early as the reign of King John, to a family bearing its own name. In this family it continued until the year 1734, when it was sold by James Kestel, Esq." [2]

Early History of the Kesal family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kesal research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1199, 1216, 1737, 1272, 1307 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Kesal History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kesal Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and 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 of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Kestle, Kestell, Kestel, Kestelle, Kessel, Kessal and many more.

Early Notables of the Kesal family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Kesal family

An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Kesal or a variant listed above: Robert M. Kestell, who was on record in the Ontario census of 1871; as well as Robert Henry Kestell, who was naturalized in Michigan in 1881.



  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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