Kestell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Kestell history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Kestell history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Kestell family originally lived in the county of Cornwall, in the village of Kestell.

Early Origins of the Kestell family

The surname Kestell 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 Kestell family

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

Kestell 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 Kestell family (pre 1700)

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


United States Kestell migration to the United States +

Early records show that people bearing the name Kestell arrived in North America quite early:

Kestell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Henry Kestell, who was naturalized in Michigan in 1881

Canada Kestell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kestell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Robert M. Kestell, who was on record in the Ontario census of 1871

Contemporary Notables of the name Kestell (post 1700) +

  • Robert Kestell, representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in Guyana
  • Steve Kestell (b. 1955), American politician, member of the Wisconsin legislature since 1998

Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. Richard Davis Kestell (b. 1858), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died
  • Mr. Thomas Kestell (b. 1890), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died


  1. ^ Lower, 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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