Origins Available: English
Early Origins of the Nigil family
The surname Nigil was first found in Cheshire
where they held a family seat
as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy
, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron
, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England
to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant
of the lands of the Baron
William FitzNigel who was recorded in the Domesday Book
census of 1086. 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 (1189-98) and treasurer of England
Early History of the Nigil family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nigil research.Another 215 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1189, 1424, 1510, and 1600 are included under the topic Early Nigil History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Nigil Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations
. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Nigell, Nigel, FitzNigel, FitzNigell and others.
Early Notables of the Nigil family (pre 1700)
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nigil Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Nigil family to the New World and Oceana
Because of the political and religious discontent in England
, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Nigil name or one of its variants: Philip Nigel, who settled in Baltimore in 1834; and John Nigal, who arrived in Boston in 1849.