The surname of GUNNELL was a baptismal name 'the son of GUNNILDA' which was derived from the Old Norman personal name, and meaning war-battle. This name was extremely popular in the north of England which was under Norse influence in the Middle Ages. The name is also spelt GUNNALL, GUNNILL and QUENNELL. Early records of the name mention Gunnild (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners 'to shires they did not know and where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey, and report culprits to the King'. The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged, and copied by one single writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers into a second volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed, in less than 12 months. Gunnilla (without surname) was recorded in County Surrey in 1214. John Gunnild was documented in County Norfolk in the year 1240, and Simon Gunel was recorded in the same year in County Essex. This name would also have arrived in England with the Norman Conqueror in 1066. In the year of 1602 Robert Quennell of County Surrey, registered at Oxford University, and Peter Quennell was enroled there in 1621. A notable person of the name is Peter Courtney Quennell, the English biographer, born in London. He was educated at Berkamsted and Balliol College, Oxford. He is best known for his biographical studies of Byron (1935) and Shakespeare (1963) although he has written many other books, verses and novels. The Rose depicted in the arms is used as a distinction for the seventh son. The Distinction of Houses are used to distinguish the younger from the elder branches of a family, and to show from what line each is descended.
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