Carnell (surname)

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The name Carnell is Old English in origin and thought to be derived from an occupational name for a land owner.[citation needed] It is also associated with the meaning "defender of the castle"


The name was derived from the Anglo-Norman French 'carnel' meaning plenty, and 'castle'. Some sources state the name was introduced into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, but other sources have been found in Devonshire where they held a family seat from ancient times due to their noble status, long before the Norman invasion of 1066 and was rendered in early medieval documents in the Latin form of Crenellus. Many modern Carnell family's throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors - noble household or land owners.


Early records of the name mention William de la Karnell who appears in the year 1244, and Hugo de la Karnell was documented in 1247 in the County of Northampton. Edward Carnell was documented as a nobleman during the reign of Edward III (1327–1377) and Thomas Karnell of Yorkshire - also a nobleman, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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 Burke's General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.

Motto: La Vie Durante

Motto Translated: Lasting life or long life.

Crest: Red lion with a gold crown.

Coat of Arms: A silver shield with a red lion rampant with a gold crown, within a black border bezant.