Show ContentsPagnell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Some believe the Pagnell surname is thought to derive from the Latin medieval personal name Paganus, which also gave us the name Paine.

"The surname of this family, Painel or Paynell, in the Latin of the time 'Paganellus,' is a diminution of Pain or Paganus, and, as was the custom of the time, was no doubt first applied for distinction to a Pain Fitz Pain during his father's life-time, and happened, as in this case, to be perpetuated as a surname, by his descendants." [1]

Alternatively, the name was derived from "Painell or Paganel, a great baronial family in Normandy." [2]

"Paganus was a Norman personal name, whence the modern Payne and Paine, as well as the more ancient Paganel and Paynel. Pagan, however, exists at this day among English surnames. " [3]

Early Origins of the Pagnell family

The surname Pagnell was first found in Yorkshire. However, some of the family were found at Astwood in the union of Newport-Pagnell in Buckinghamshire since early times. "This place was at the Conquest surveyed as part of the adjoining parish of Hardmead, and belonged to William Fitzanculph, from whom it descended by marriage to Fulk Paganell, the founder of Newport-Pagnell." [4]

Back in Yorkshire, at Hooton-Pagnell, another branch of the family was found. "This parish derives the latter part of its name from Ralph de Paganel, to whom the manor belonged at the time of the Conquest." [4]

And in Huggate in the East Riding of Yorkshire, more early records of the family were found. "The church is a handsome structure, chiefly in the Norman style, with portions of a later date, and an embattled tower surmounted by a lofty octagonal spire; it is supposed to have been built by Ralph de Paganel, about the year 1233." [4]

"The manor [of Little Linford, Buckinghamshire] was anciently in the Pagnells, from whom it came by successive female heirs to the families of Somery, Botetort, Burnell, and Bermingham. " [4]

Early History of the Pagnell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pagnell research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1180 and 1265 are included under the topic Early Pagnell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pagnell 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 Pagan, Paganell, Paganel, Pagnell and others.

Early Notables of the Pagnell family

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

Migration of the Pagnell 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 Pagnell or a variant listed above were: James Pagan, who came to Virginia in 1688; Robert Pagan, who arrived in Maine in 1748; Thomas Pagan, who arrived in St. John, N.B. in 1800; William Pagan, who came to New York in 1766.

The Pagnell 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: Nec timeo nec sperno
Motto Translation: I neither fear nor despise.

  1. Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  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. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print. on Facebook