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Durnell Coat of Arms / Durnell Family Crest

Durnell Coat of Arms / Durnell Family Crest

Originally derived from the old French word 'darnel', this name was brought into England during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. It was a name given to one who grew the plant 'darnele' that was formerly believed to produce intoxication. Occasionally the name was local, from DARNELL, a place in Sheffield, Yorkshire, from where the orginal bearer may have taken his name. Other spellings include DURNEL, DARNELL, DERNELL and DARNALE.The Norman Conquest in England in the year of 1066 revolutionized our personal nomenclature. The old English name system was gradually broken up and old English names became less common and were replaced by new names from the continent. Most of the early documents deal with the upper classes who realised that an additional name added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Names of peasants rarely occurred in medieval documents. In 1086 the compilation of the Domesday Book was ordered by William the Conqueror (1027-87), king of England from 1066. He was born in Falaise, the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, by Arlette, a tanner's daughter. On his father's death in 1035, the nobles accepted him as a duke. When Edward the Confessor, King of England died in 1066, William invaded England that Autumn, on 14th October, 1066 killing Harold (who had assumed the title of King). English government under William assumed a more feudal aspect, the King's tenants-in-chief and all title to land was derived from his grants, and the Domesday Book contains details of the land settlements, and the names of the owners of such. Early records of the name mention Goduine DERNEL, who was recorded in Suffolk, England in the year 1095, and Godwin DARNEL, was documented in 1177 in County Sussex. Thomas DURNELL of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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