The surname of NEVELS was a locational name 'of Neville', a place name in France. Local names derived from a place-name, indicating where the man held land, or the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. Many of the French place-names denote the seat of noble families, but many of the modern surnames merely indicate migration from a French place. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others from the English provinces of France. The name is also spelt NEVILL, NEWELL, NEWILL, NEUFVILLE and NAVILLE. Early records of the name mention Ralph de Nevilla of London, was listed in the Domesday Book in 1086. Gilbert Neuille was documented in London in the year 1142. John de Newill was recorded in Warwickshire in 1235. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. The Anglo-Norman family of Neville acquired the surname when Robert FitzMaldred, who came of age in 1195, married the heiress to Henry de Neville, from Neuville in Calvados; their son was known by his mother's surname. The patrilineal descent can be traced to Dolfin FitzUchtred, who held estates in Northumbria and Scotland in the 11th century, and was probably related to the Anglo-Saxon earls of Northumbria. The Nevilles became extremely powerful during the Wars of the Roses, supporting each of the factions at various times; Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (1428-71) was nicknamed 'the Kingmaker'. They have since held the dukedom of Bedford, marquessate of Montague, and earldoms of Salisbury, Westmorland, Warwick, Kent and Northumberland. In more recent years they have been Earls and Marquesses of Abergavenny.
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