Show ContentsTragonwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Atlantic Ocean to the north and west and the English Channel to the south borders Cornwall, the homeland to the Tragonwell family name. Even though the usage of surnames was common during the Middle Ages, all English people were known only by a single name in early times. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Tragonwell family originally lived in Cornwall at the manors of Tregonwell and Bellarmine.

Early Origins of the Tragonwell family

The surname Tragonwell was first found in Cornwall, at Tregonwell, in the parish of Cranstock. where they were Lords of the manor of Tregonwell and Bellarmine. Local records say "they builded many places" and possessed "many lands and manors before the Norman Conquest." [1]

"Tregonell in [the parish of Probus] was the ancient seat of a respectable family of that name, whose co-heiresses in the reign of James I. married into the families of Bauden, Pollamonter, and Penpoll. From this place sprang John Tregonell, who, in the days of Henry VII. was educated in the college at Crantock. Removing hence, he proceeded to Oxford, where, in consequence of his great erudition, he obtained his degree of LL.D. and acquired such fame, that he was chosen proctor for Henry VIII. in the divorce between him and Catherine of Spain. For this service he received the honour of knighthood, and had settled upon him the annual pension of £40. This Dr. Tregonell was buried in Midleton church in 1540. His son and grandson were afterwards sheriffs for Dorsetshire in the reigns of William and Mary, and James I." [2]

Early History of the Tragonwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tragonwell research. Another 120 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1529, 1604, 1615, 1627, 1622, 1752, 1565, 1632, 1682, 1659, 1660, 1679, 1622 and 1565 are included under the topic Early Tragonwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tragonwell Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Tregonwell, Tregenwell and others.

Early Notables of the Tragonwell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Tregonwell, one of the benefactors of Milton Abbey, Dorset in the 14th century. Sir John Tregonwell (d. 1565), was an English civilian, born in Cornwall, probably at Tregonwell, was the second son of his family. [3] John Tregonwell (1632-1682), was an...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tragonwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Tragonwell family

The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Tragonwell: M. Tregonwel arrived in America in 1760.

The Tragonwell 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: Nosce teipsum
Motto Translation: Know thyself.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook