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Word/namePlace name in St Mawgan in Pydar
Meaning"Valley of the Woodcocks"
Region of originCornwall
Other names
Variant form(s)Nancekivell

Nankivell is a surname originating from Cornwall. Notable people with the surname include:


Nanskeval house at St Mawgan in Pydar, Cornwall. Said to be the place where the name originated

The name derives from 'Nanskeval' a place on the parish boundaries of St Mawgan in Pydar and St Columb Major, which in 1277 was spelled Nanscuvel. Nanskeval house was once the home of Liberal MP Edward Brydges Willyams and is still part of the Carnanton estate which is still owned by descendants of the same family. Nans means 'valley' in Old Cornish (Welsh: nant) and Kivell is thought to derive from the Cornish equivalent of the Welsh word ceffyl, meaning a horse.[1] This meaning of the name is often quoted but is very unlikely. The Cornish for 'horse' is 'margh' (Welsh: march).[citation needed] A much more likely meaning of the name and its variants is "Valley of the Woodcock" since 'woodcock' in Cornish is 'kevelek' (Welsh: cyffylog, ceffylog - Scolopax rusticola)[citation needed] and woodcock were common in the woods in the Vale of Lanherne in St Mawgan in Pydar where Nanskeval House once was.

The registers of the Parish of St Columb Major, Cornwall from the year 1539 to 1780 have this: "The name Nankivell is pure Keltic and means the Glen of the Woodcock (generally spelt Nanskevall) old oak wood, lies about 2 miles from St Columb". There are other authorities that agree with this.

External links[edit]


Nankivell, a Family Affair by Anne Williams (1986) ISBN 1-86252-120-4

The Vale of Lanherne by Charles Lee (1984) ISBN 0-907566-45-6

  1. ^ Ceffyl (in Welsh)

South Dakota Archery Association Record Books, NFAA Records.