Papail History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Papail family brought their name to England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Pavelion, (Pavilion) "near Mantes, in Normandy. Torald de Papilion present in a great Council, London 1082. The Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists Joscelin, William Papeilon, Normandy 1180, Walter and William de Papeillon 1198."[1]

These entries mean than some of the family emigrated to England while others remained in Normandy. In French, the name literally means "of the pavilion," a tent which is "so called because spread out like the wings of a butterfly. Latin, papilionem, acc. OF papilio, (1) a butterfly, (a) a tent." [2]

Early Origins of the Papail family

The surname Papail was first found in the Dives Rolls which lists Ralph Papelion.

"He witnessed William the Conqueror's confirmation charter to the church of Durham ; and is mentioned among those present at a great Council held at Westminster in 1082 (Mon.Angl.). Ralph Papelion, in 1214, was elected Abbot of Westminster. Halnadus or Havenald de Papelion was a benefactor of Selby Abbey, and a witness to the Bishop of Lincoln's grant to Thorney in Cambridgeshire (Ibid.). "Dominus Rydel Papillon " and Nicholas Papilioun of Lincolnshire are entered in the Hundred Rolls of Edward I. ; and Geoffrey Pampilon was " one of the Procurators appointed by Simon Abbot of Croyland to appear on his behalf in the Parliament at York, 16 Edward. II." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include a listing for Nicholas Papalion in Lincolnshire and during the reign of Edward II, the source the Freemen of York lists "John le Pavilloner (a maker of pavilions)." [2]

"The Papillons of Kent and Sussex are of Huguenot origin, and are descendants of Anthony Papillon, the friend of Erasmus, and one of the most eminent Protestants of France. His grandson, David Papillon, settled at Lubenham, co. Leicester, and was ancestor of the Papillons of Acrise." [4]

The movie Papillon (1973) starring Steve McQueen was based on the 1969 autobiography by the French convict Henri Charrière. Papillon was Henri Charrière's nickname.

Early History of the Papail family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Papail research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1230, 1455, 1487, 1623, 1702 and 1647 are included under the topic Early Papail History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Papail Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Papail were recorded, including Papillon, Pampillon, Pamphlin, Pamphilon, Pamplin, Pamplyn, Plampin, Pampling, Pampynge and many more.

Early Notables of the Papail family (pre 1700)

Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Papail Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Papail family

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Papail arrived in North America very early: Percy Pamphillion, and Edgar Pamphillion, who came to Canada sometime between 1884 and 1938 as "Home Children" orphans.



  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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