Show ContentsPennell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Pennell family

The surname Pennell was first found in the Domesday Book of 1086 where Ralph Pinel held a barony in Essex and Suffolk. [1] [2]

"It is impossible to decide to which of the Norman families of the name belonged. Several of the name are found in the Norman Exchequer Rolls of 1180-98. Ralph Pinel held four fees in 1165 of the Earl of Essex in Essex, and some land in Berkshire under Fitz Robert and Fitz Peter, another of whose tenants was Anchetil Pinel. There is some hint of a previous scandal in the family. In the Pipe Roll of 12 John, " Robert Vanx owes five best palfreys, that the King may be silent regarding Henry Pinel's wife." The Oxfordshire fee of Warin Pinel (then deceased) is spoken of in the Testa de Nevill; [3] and in 1278, Roger Pinel, Robert Pinel's widow, and Margaret, daughter of William Pinel, were all landowners in the county. Contemporary with them were Matthew Pinel of Suffolk, his brother Hugh, and Henry Pinel of Huntingdonshire." [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: John Pinel, Essex; Henry Pinel, Huntingdonshire; Roger Pinel, Oxfordshire; and Mathew Pinel, Suffolk. [5]

Early History of the Pennell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pennell research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1487 and 1867 are included under the topic Early Pennell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pennell Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Pennell are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Pennell include: Pennell, Pennel, Penell, Pennall, Pennells, Pennalls, Penal and many more.

Early Notables of the Pennell family

Distinguished members of the family include

  • Pennell of Essex

Pennell Ranking

In the United States, the name Pennell is the 3,893rd most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [6] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Pennell is ranked the 228th most popular surname with an estimated 191 people with that name. [7]

United States Pennell migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Pennell or a variant listed above:

Pennell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Pennell, who landed in Virginia in 1655 [8]
Pennell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Pennell, who arrived in New England in 1740 [8]

Australia Pennell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Pennell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Matthew Pennell, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • William Richard Pennell, aged 22, a sawyer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Shackamaxon" [10]
  • John Pennell, aged 19, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Shackamaxon" [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Pennell (post 1700) +

  • Major-General Ralph McTyeire Pennell (1882-1973), American Commandant of Field Artillery School (1944-1945) [11]
  • Robert Franklin Pennell (1850-1905), American educator and classicist
  • Maynard Pennell (1910-1994), American Boeing executive and aircraft designer
  • Larry "Bud" Pennell (b. 1928), American television and film actor
  • Joseph Pennell (1857-1926), American artist and author
  • Edward Robert Pennell (1894-1974), English World War I flying ace
  • Captain Henry Singleton Pennell VC (1874-1907), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Gordon Pennell (1929-2015), Canadian professional hockey player who played 383 games for the Buffalo Bisons (1946-1960), inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Nicholas Pennell (1938-1995), English television, film, and stage actor
  • Lawrence T Pennell (1915-2008), former Canadian politician, and jurist
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • John Albert Pennell (1921-1939), born in London, England, British Marine with the Royal Marine aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [12]

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  4. 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
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  8. 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)
  9. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from
  10. South Australian Register Thursday 20 January 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SHACKAMAXON 1853. Retrieved
  11. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Ralph Pennell. Retrieved from
  12. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook