Nigell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Nigell family

The surname Nigell was first found in Cheshire where the family is descended from the tenant of the lands of the Baron William FitzNigel who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086. [1]

He was preceded by Nigel of Cotentin (c.1070-1080,) who was the hereditary Constable of Chester. Another early mention is of Nigel (d. 1169,) who was an Anglo-Norman Bishop of Ely, and Lord High Treasurer for both Henry I and Henry II of England. His son Richard FitzNigel, (d. 1198) was Bishop of London (1189-1198) and Treasurer of England (c.1158-1198). [2]

"Tradition says, that the site of the manor of Borstall, in Buckinghamshire, was given by King Edward the Confessor to one Nigel, for his services in slaying a wild boar which infested the forest of Bernwood, to be held by cornage, or the service of a horn; and that the mansion built by him on this land was called Boar-stall, in memory of the slain boar. It appears from an inquisition taken in 1265, that Sir John Fitz Nigel or Fitz Neale then held a hide of arable land, called the Dere-hide, at Borstall, and a wood, called Hull-Wood, by grand serjeantry, as Keeper of the Forest of Bernwood; that their ancestors had possessed these lands, and this office, before the Conquest, and held them by the service of a horn, as the charter of the said forest: that they had been unjustly withheld by the family of Lizures, of whom William Fitz Nigel, father of Sir John, had been obliged to purchase them. It is certain that Borstall passed by marriage from the Fitz Neales to the family of Handlo." [3]

Early History of the Nigell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nigell research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1424 and 1189 are included under the topic Early Nigell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nigell Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Nigell, Nigel, FitzNigel, FitzNigell and others.

Early Notables of the Nigell family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Nigell family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Nigell or a variant listed above were: Philip Nigel, who settled in Baltimore in 1834; and John Nigal, who arrived in Boston in 1849.



  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3


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