This surname is a baptismal name 'the son of Arnold', a very popular personal name in England, practically forgotten now.
There were also places of the name, a village in the parish of Riston, County York, and a parish in County Nottingham. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived.
Early records of the name mention Ernold Rogerus filius Ernaldi who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Stephen Arnold of the County of Kent was recorded in the year 1273. Ayelina relicta Arnold of the County of Huntingdonshire in 1273. Walter Arnap was the rector or Thelton, County Norfolk in 1409. Warin Arnope of Norwich was recorded in 1486. John Arnold and Winifred Nelham were married London in 1611. Richard Jaggard and Eedy Arnald were married at St. Antholin, London in 1616.
Thomas Arnold (1795-1842) was the Headmaster of Rugby, which he raised to the rank of a great public school.
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) was an English poet and critic of distinction, and the son of Thomas.
The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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