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Horsnaill Coat of Arms / Horsnaill Family Crest

This surname is frequently mentioned in medieval documents and was a maker of nails, or one who shod horses. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Henry Horsnail, who was documented in the year 1221 in Salisbury. Richard Horsnail appears in 1248 in County Berkshire Thomas Horsnall of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and William Horsenell was recorded in County Lancashire in 1400. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but they were not commonplace in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Later instances of the name mention Francis Rolfe and Margaret Horsnell who were married in London in 1639, and Audrey, wife of George Horsnell was recorded in 1644 in County Norfolk. John, son of Thomas Horsnell was baptised at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1650, and William Horsnaile appears in Clerkenwell, London in 1700. William Horsnaile and Elizabeth Wilson were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1804. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Worvill, County Buckinghamshire, and granted on 17th February, 1740.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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