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Kensall Coat of Arms / Kensall Family Crest

The surname of KENSALL was a locational name 'of Kensal' now familiarly known as Kensal Green, County Middlesex. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. The name was originally derived from the Old English word KYNSALE, and literally meant the dweller at 'The king's wood'. The earliest of the name on record appears to be KINGGISHOLTE (without surname) who was recorded in 1253 in Middlesex, and KYNSALE (without surname) appears in 1290. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Other records of the name mention John de Kensdale who was documented in the year 1273 in County Norfolk, and William Kensal of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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