Menel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Menel is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Menel 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 Menel family

The surname Menel 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 Menel family

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

Menel Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Menel has been recorded under many different variations, including Meynell, Meynill, Meynil, Menel, Mannell, Maynell, Maynall and many more.

Early Notables of the Menel family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Menel family

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Menels were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: 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 Menel 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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