This English name CRENNELL was apparently an occupational name for a crossbowman who specialized in fighting from the battlements of castles. The name was derived from the Anglo-Norman French 'carnel' meaning battlement, and 'crenel'. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and was rendered in early medieval documents in the Latin form of CRENELLUS. Many modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. The name has several variations, amongst which are CARNALL,CARNEL and CRENEL.
Early records of the name mention William de la Kernel who appears in the year 1244, and Hugo de la Karnell was documented in 1247 in County Northampton. Edward Carnell was documented during the reign of Edward 111. (1327-1377) and Thomas Karnell of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Family names are a fashion we have inherited from the times of the Crusades in Europe, when knights identified one another by adding their place of birth to their first or Christian names. With so many knights, this was a very practical step. In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries the nobles and upper classes, particularly those descended from the knights of the Crusades, recognised the prestige an extra name afforded them, and added the surname to the simple name given to them at birth.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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