Machell / Machel / Machelle / Maychell / MacHell
My surname is "Machell" and I'm struggling to find out what this means. I've heard that it's in the Doomsday book but haven't been able to verify this. One of my family members is convinced that the origins are French and that it means "bad dogs" i.e. from "mauvais chiens" but I'm struggling to find evidence of this. (The family crest is supposedly of three greyhound-type dogs but again, I'm lacking the evidence.)Anyone with any ideas or information please help!
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i have the same name and proof of the grey hounds and i have the coat of arms find me on face book josh machell
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The only writer I've found dealing with this name is Mark Anthony Lower, writing in the mid-19th century. I would feel happier with a later source, from a time when the study of surnames was more scientific, but this is Lower, verbatim -
"At Crakenthorpe, co. Westmoreland, temp. Norman Conquest. The name has been variously written Mauchael, Malchael, Mauchell and Machell, and latinized Malus Catulus, - 'the good-for-nothing-puppy!' a very uncomplimentary designation, but very quietly submitted to by the bearers, as it appears from many a charter in which it occurs."
Which confirms your information.
However, Lower mentions the Machell occupation of Crakenthorpe at the Norman Conquest. True a "Machel" (one name)was a landholder in Westmoreland in the reign of Edward the Confessor, but this suggests to me the possibility that the name was not French at all, perhaps Celtic or even Norse in origin.
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