Manknell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Manknell is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Manknell family lived in De Grente-mesnil, from Grente-mesnil (now Grandmesnil) in the arrondissement of Lisieux, Normandy.

"Hugh de Grente-mesnil, a brave Souidler," fought stoutly at Hastings, and "was that day in great peril: his horse ran away with him, so that he was near falling, for in leaping over a bush the bridle rein broke, and the horse plunged forward. The English seeing him ran to meet him with their hatchets raised, but the horse took fright, and turning quickly round brought him safe back again." [1]

"Two years after the battle he was appointed, with Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, William Fitz Osbern, and others, one of the Justiciary of England during the King's absence in Normandy. He was Viscount of Leicestershire and Hampshire, and according to Domesday, held one hundred and four Lordships, of which two-thirds, with the Honour of Hinckley-in right whereof he was Lord High Steward of England-were in Leicestershire. He lived to be a very old man, and in 1094, 'being grown aged and infirm, he took upon him the habit of a Monk; and within six days afterwards departed this life, whereupon Bernard and David, two Monks of St. Ebrulfe's ' (a Norman monastery he had restored and endowed), 'having seasoned his Corps with Salt, and wrapped it in an Hide, conveyed it to Normandy, where it was honourably buried on the South side of their Chapter-house.' " [2]

Early Origins of the Manknell family

The surname Manknell was first found in Derbyshire during the reign of Henry II where "one of the most ancient possessions was Langley-Maynell, in that county, an estate which remained in the family till the end of the fourteenth century. A younger son at this period was seated at Yeaveley, his grandson at Willington." [3]

Confirming this early origin, another source notes: "The manor took its name of Meynell from an ancient family who possessed it so early as the reign of Edward III. and from whom it passed, by successive female heirs." [4]

But in 1669, Isaac Meynell, citizen of London bought the manor back from William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, only to have his only daughter and heiress convey the lands to the Cecils who again sold the lands back to another branch of the family of Meynell. By far the strongest branch of the family was found later in Staffordshire at Hore-Cross. [5]

The parish of Sowerby in the North Riding of Yorkshire was home to yet another branch of the family. "This place, at an early period, was the property of the Lascelles family, who in the reign of Elizabeth granted it to the Meynells, whose descendant Thomas Meynell, Esq., is now lord of the manor." [4]

Early History of the Manknell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Manknell research. Another 299 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1295, 1322 and 1336 are included under the topic Early Manknell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Manknell Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Manknell include Meynell, Meynill, Meynil, Menel, Mannell, Maynell, Maynall and many more.

Early Notables of the Manknell family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Manknell family

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Manknells to arrive on North American shores: Conrad Mennell, who arrived in Baltimore in 1831; R. Mennell, who was naturalized in Pennsylvania in 1852; Christopher Meynell, who arrived in America in 1678.



The Manknell Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Deus non reliquit memoriam humilium
Motto Translation: God hath not forgotten the humble.


  1. ^ Wace, Robert, Roman de Brut England: 1155. Digital
  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. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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