Knowell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the name Knowell began soon after 1066 when the Norman Conquest of England occurred. It was a name given to a person who was connected in some way with the Christmas season. Such a name may have been attached to the person whose duty it was to provide the Yule log to the Lord of the manor, although this connection is by no means exclusive.

Early Origins of the Knowell family

The surname Knowell was first found in Staffordshire at Ranton, home of Ranton Abbey and Ranton Priory, built c.1150 by Robert fitz Noel of Ellenhall. [1] The ruins of Abbey House remain today but most of the building fell to ruin by the late 1600s. For Noel's services as a companion to William the Conqueror, he received the aforementioned priory plus the manors of Ellenhall, Wiverstone, Podmore and Milnese. His eldest son, Robert Noel, Lord of Ellenhall, was granted the greater part of Gainsborough from the Prior of Coventry temp. Henry I. From him derived the Noels of Hilcote and the Noels of the counties of Rutland and Leicester. [2]

"The Hall [of Ellenhall] belonged to the ancient family of the Noels, from whom descended the Noels of Hilcote, in this county, and the Noels of Ridlington, in Rutlandshire; it afterwards passed, with the manor, by marriage, to the Harcourts." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Ralph Noel in Huntingdonshire and Noel de Aubtanis in Somerset. [4] Kirby's Quest listed the name as a forename in Somerset as in: Noel atte Wynde, [5]

The hamlet of Moxhull in Warwickshire played an important part in the family's lineage. "It is situated to the west of the Birmingham and Fazeley canal; and is chiefly distinguished as the residence of Berkeley Noel, Esq., whose seat of Moxhull Park is bounded on the east by the high road: the house was built about the 14th century, and is a substantial edifice, containing some ancient portraits of members of the Noel and Hacket families." [3]

Another branch of the family was found in Exton, Rutland. "The church is a spacious and elegant structure, chiefly in the early, and partly in the later, English style, with a tower strengthened by buttresses, and surmounted by a spire; it contains several finely-executed monuments to the Noel family and their connexions." [3]

Yes another branch of the family was found at Little Mearley in Lancashire. "The hamlet and manor of Little Mearley, in the township, still remain in the descendants of William Nowell, the first grantee under John de Lacy, who died in the year 1240." [3]

Important Dates for the Knowell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knowell research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1507, 1602, 1515, 1571, 1576, 1558, 1560, 1662, 1641, 1689, 1661, 1690, 1684, 1714, 1590 and 1655 are included under the topic Early Knowell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knowell Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Knowell are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Knowell include Noel, Noell, Nole and others.

Early Notables of the Knowell family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Alexander Nowell (c. 1507-1602), an English Puritan theologian and clergyman, Dean of St Paul's; Laurence Nowell (c. 1515-c. 1571), an English antiquarian, a cartographer and a pioneering scholar of Anglo-Saxon language and literature, best known for his Nowell Codex, a collection that included the epic poem Beowulf and a fragment of The Life of Saint Christopher; Laurence Nowell (died 1576) English churchman, Archdeacon of Derby (1558) and later Dean of Lichfield (1560); Sir Martin Noell, knighted in...
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knowell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knowell migration to the United States

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Knowell, or a variant listed above:

Knowell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hannah Knowell, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [6]

Citations

  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. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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