Nowells History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Nowells is part of the ancient legacy of the early Norman inhabitants that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Nowells was a Norman name used for a person who was connected in some way with the Christmas season. Such a name may have been attached to the person whose duty it was to provide the Yule log to the Lord of the manor, although this connection is by no means exclusive.
Early Origins of the Nowells family
The surname Nowells was first found in Staffordshire at Ranton, home of Ranton Abbey and Ranton Priory, built c.1150 by Robert fitz Noel of Ellenhall.  The ruins of Abbey House remain today but most of the building fell to ruin by the late 1600s. For Noel's services as a companion to William the Conqueror, he received the aforementioned priory plus the manors of Ellenhall, Wiverstone, Podmore and Milnese. His eldest son, Robert Noel, Lord of Ellenhall, was granted the greater part of Gainsborough from the Prior of Coventry temp. Henry I. From him derived the Noels of Hilcote and the Noels of the counties of Rutland and Leicester. 
"The Hall [of Ellenhall] belonged to the ancient family of the Noels, from whom descended the Noels of Hilcote, in this county, and the Noels of Ridlington, in Rutlandshire; it afterwards passed, with the manor, by marriage, to the Harcourts." 
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Ralph Noel in Huntingdonshire and Noel de Aubtanis in Somerset.  Kirby's Quest listed the name as a forename in Somerset as in: Noel atte Wynde, 
The hamlet of Moxhull in Warwickshire played an important part in the family's lineage. "It is situated to the west of the Birmingham and Fazeley canal; and is chiefly distinguished as the residence of Berkeley Noel, Esq., whose seat of Moxhull Park is bounded on the east by the high road: the house was built about the 14th century, and is a substantial edifice, containing some ancient portraits of members of the Noel and Hacket families." 
Another branch of the family was found in Exton, Rutland. "The church is a spacious and elegant structure, chiefly in the early, and partly in the later, English style, with a tower strengthened by buttresses, and surmounted by a spire; it contains several finely-executed monuments to the Noel family and their connexions." 
Yes another branch of the family was found at Little Mearley in Lancashire. "The hamlet and manor of Little Mearley, in the township, still remain in the descendants of William Nowell, the first grantee under John de Lacy, who died in the year 1240." 
Important Dates for the Nowells family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nowells research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1507, 1602, 1515, 1571, 1576, 1558, 1560, 1662, 1641, 1689, 1661, 1690, 1684, 1714, 1590 and 1655 are included under the topic Early Nowells History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Nowells 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 Noel, Noell, Nole and others.
Early Notables of the Nowells family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Alexander Nowell (c. 1507-1602), an English Puritan theologian and clergyman, Dean of St Paul's; Laurence Nowell (c. 1515-c. 1571), an English antiquarian, a cartographer and a pioneering scholar of Anglo-Saxon language and literature, best known for his Nowell Codex, a collection that included the epic poem Beowulf and a fragment of The Life of Saint Christopher; Laurence Nowell (died 1576) English churchman, Archdeacon of Derby (1558) and later Dean of Lichfield (1560); Sir Martin Noell, knighted in...
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nowells Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Nowells migration to the United States
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 Nowells name or one of its variants:
Nowells Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Jon Nowells, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 
- ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
- ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)