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Tregelles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Tregelles family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. 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 Tregelles family originally lived in Cornwall at the manor of Tregalles, near Falmouth.

Early Origins of the Tregelles family

The surname Tregelles was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Tregalles. One of the first on record as holding the family estates was a Nicholas de Tregelles in the year 1295. Although the 'de' prefix would seem to indicate a Norman/French or Breton origin it was not uncommon for Cornish People to adopt the prefix, particularly if they traveled in court circles. The language of the court was at the time Norman/French.

Early History of the Tregelles family

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Tregelles 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 Tregelles, Tregellas, Tregillas, Tregilles and others.

Early Notables of the Tregelles family (pre 1700)

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Migration of the Tregelles family to the New World and Oceana

In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Tregelles were found: Edward Tregilgas, who traveled to America as a bonded passenger in 1756; and Susan Tregellas and her family, who sailed to the west coast of North America in 1862..

Contemporary Notables of the name Tregelles (post 1700)

  • Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-1875), English biblical scholar, textual critic, and theologian
  • Edwin Octavius Tregelles, ironmaster, civil engineer and Quaker minister

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