Meynil History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Meynil is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Meynil 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." 
"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.' " 
Early Origins of the Meynil family
The surname Meynil 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." 
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." 
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. 
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." 
Early History of the Meynil family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Meynil research. Another 299 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1295, 1322 and 1336 are included under the topic Early Meynil History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Meynil Spelling Variations
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Meynell, Meynill, Meynil, Menel, Mannell, Maynell, Maynall and many more.
Early Notables of the Meynil family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Meynil Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Meynil family
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Meynil or a variant listed above: 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.
Related Stories +
The Meynil 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.
- ^ Wace, Robert, Roman de Brut England: 1155. Digital
- ^ 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
- ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.