Randall Surname Meaning, History & Origin
of the given
name Randolph which has Norse-Viking origins.
The Norse name Rondulfr,
meaning “shield” and “wolf,” became Randwulf and Randulf and later
England. The old English Lord
Randal ballad was said to have referred to
the 13th century Randolph, Earl of Chester.
first name, Randel or Randle, and later a surname.
Early surname forms were Randal and
Randle. The main variants to Randall
today are Randell and Randle.
Randall Resources on
- Descendants of Matthew Randall
Randalls in Bath.
- Sailing with the Randell Family
Randells in Carmarthenshire.
- Long Island Randalls
Descendants of Stephen Randall.
- The Randalls
Randalls from Wiltshire to Canada.
was an early surname spelling – found in Gloucestershire (Cowley and
Minchinhampton), but later generally restricted to Warwickshire in the
Midlands. One Randle family in Bedworth
and later in Foleshill dates back to the mid-1500’s.
Richard Randle was the town clerk at nearby
Coventry from 1614 to 1636. Notably
Bedworth and Foleshill were the places with the highest
number of Randles in the 1881 census.
However, Randall has been mainly a name of southern England.
SW England. A
notable early family was the Randall family of Bath in
Somerset. This line probably started with John Randall who
was born in Bath is 1545 and married Johanna Webb. Their son
Matthew was the Mayor of Bath in 1627. From his son the Rev.
Matthew Randall came John Randall who worked as a draper in London and
departed for New England in 1667.
Randalls dated from the early 1500’s at Allington near Bridport in
Dorset. Phillip Randall, born there in 1574, emigrated to New
England in 1630. Meanwhile Lawrence Randall from along the Dorset
coast at Lulworth was establishing at that time what was to become the Red Lion inn. William Randall
was the comic
innkeeper there in John O’Keefe’s play The London Hermit in the
1790’s. The Red Lion
stayed with the Randall family until 1870.
There were also Randalls in Wiltshire, particularly in and around the
town of Warminster. John Randall was a clothier at Sutton Veny in
the early 1700’s. His pattern and account book have
survived. The Rev. Richard Randall, the vicar at Chicklade in the
1730’s, held the Dominick farm there and it remained with his family
until the 1850’s. The town of Trowbridge in western
Wiltshire had a large concentration of Randalls in the 1881 census.
The Randell spelling surfaced
in Devon, dating back to the late 16th century. Francis Randell
moved to Carmarthenshire in Wales around the year 1800 and started a
business between Wales and SW England that spanned four generations of
family and lasted over a hundred years.
William Randell from Sidbury who emigrated to South Australia in
also a seaman. He was a pioneer of
steamboats on the Murray river.
SE England. Randall Manor,
an imposing manor house near Gravesend in Kent, has long
disappeared. But the Randall surname can still be found in the
Kentish Medway towns.
The Randall name also appeared at an early time, in the 1560’s, in the
parish registers of Hedgerley and Amersham in south
Buckinghamshire. These Randalls were Baptists. John
Randall, the Puritan clergyman, was born in Great Missenden in 1570;
while Giles Randall was recorded as an innkeeper there in 1587.
By the late 19th century the Randall name had spread throughout London
and SE England and was more numerous than in SW England.
America. Randalls came to
New England and Maryland.
Three early Randalls here were:
- Philip Randall from Dorset who came in 1633 and settled three
years later in Windsor, Connecticut. He died there in 1662 but
left no male line.
- William Randall from London who arrived as a prisoner on the Conception in 1635. Five
years later he was recorded as a cordwainer in Scituate,
Massachusetts. Frank Randall’s 1943 booklet Randall and Allied Families covered
- and Robert Randall from
Buckinghamshire who came to Weymouth, Massachusetts in the late 1630’s. His line was traced in William Chaffin’s 1909
book Biographical History of Robert
Randall and His Descendants.
Jacob Randall of uncertain parentage was born in Boston in 1667 and
moved to New Hampshire in 1700. His descendants were all sea
captains until Benjamin, born in 1749, who made a name for himself as
the organizer of the Freewill Baptists in New England.
John Randall of the Bath Randalls had come to Rhode Island in 1667 and
purchased land in Stonington, Connecticut in 1680. Here he was
probably helped by the fact that his wife Elizabeth was the daughter of
Sir William Molton, the founder of New London, Connecticut.
Their son John built the farmhouse at Stonington in 1720. It
stayed with the family until the late 1800’s (it is now an inn and a
restaurant). The Randall family became well-known as
abolitionists in the early/mid 1800’s:
the house in 1816, often told stories of the slaves’ hiding place
there. She would roll back a hooked rug to reveal a trap door
which led into a deep dark hole. Runaways hid there by day before
heading northward to Canada and freedom.”
In the 1750’s Sylvester Randall settled in Colchester, Connecticut and Stephen Randall
moved to Long Island where he fought on the American side in the
Revolutionary War. His brother John was one of the first settlers
of Durham, Maine.
Christopher Randall had settled
in Anne Arundel county around the year 1679. His
descendants moved to Baltimore where an
area known as Randallstown has preserved their name. This line is thought to have included James Ryder
Randall, author of the famous Confederate hymn Maryland,
John Randall, born in 1750, had come from a planter
family in the Northern Neck of Virginia.
As a young man he established
himself as an architect in Annapolis and was three times its mayor in the early 1800’s. After
his death in 1826, his son Alexander inherited his home near the
statehouse and his descendants owned that house until the 1950’s.
was a name in the early history of
Wisconsin. There were in fact two early
- Alexander W. Randall, the son of Phineas Randall of
New York, arrived there in 1840. He became
Governor of Wisconsin in 1858 and was later the US
General. His brother Edwin moved from
there to Florida where he was appointed the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court in 1869.
- while Benjamin Randall came in 1845 from Rhode Island and
later served in the Wisconsin State Assembly; as did his son
Canada. Joseph Randall from
Stonington was a Loyalist
who fled with his family to Canada after the Revolutionary War. Many of them eventually returned.
But Amos Randall did make a new home for
himself in Argyle, Nova Scotia.
Two later Randall arrivals from England were
poor families who had assistance – William and Ann Randall from
came with their family to Adelaide township in Ontario in 1832; and
William Randall, this time from Suffolk, who arrived in Quebec in 1838,
his wife Sarah there, and later settled in Elmira, Ontario. Sarah Randall lived
Australia. John Randall was
tried and convicted of the theft of a watch in Manchester and
Australia on the Alexander in 1787, a
first-fleeter. He had been a black slave
in Connecticut (probably of the Randalls of Stonington) who had
enlisted in the
British army during the Revolutionary War and came to England
became a town constable in Sydney, moved to Tasmania in 1814, but was
by a convict there in 1817.
The Lord Randal Ballad. Lord Randal is one of the oldest
traditional ballads in the English language. It is thought that
might have been Randolph, 6th Earl of Chester who died in 1232, having
poisoned by his wife. Langland’s Vision of Piers the Ploughman has a
reference which may be to this ballad when a character said: “I ken
of Robin Hood and Randolf Earl of Chester.”
In the ballad Lord Randall returns home to his mother after visiting
his lover. Through the mother’s inquiry, it is gradually revealed that
has been poisoned by his lover. The song
usually includes details of Lord Randall’s bequeathing his goods to
The following are some stanzas from the Anglo-Scottish version of
“And what did she give you, Lord Randal, my son?
And what did she give you, my handsome young man?
Eels fried in a pan; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi hunting, and fain wad lie down.
And wha gat your leavins, Lord Randal, my son?
And wha gat your leavins, my handsome young man?
My hawks and my hounds; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi hunting, and fain wad lie down.
And what became of them, Lord Randal, my son?
And what became of them, my handsome young man?
They stretched their legs out and died; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m wearied wi huntin, and fain wad lie down.
O I fear you are poisoned, Lord Randal, my son!
I fear you are poisoned, my handsome young man!
O yes, I am poisoned; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wad lie down.”
Randall Manor in Kent. On the hills above the rolling fields of Shorne near Gravesend in Kent lies Randall Wood. The
name is very old, probably Saxon. In
those days, before the trees had grown up, it was called Rundale and it
manor with its own fields and woods and its marshland down by the Thames.
In 1091 Bishop
approved a gift to Rochester priory of the tithes of Rundale. A hundred years passed. There
was a family living in the nearby
village of Cobham who took their name from that place. Henry
de Cobham bought the manor of Cobham and
also some land in Shorne.
His Randall Manor at Shorne dated from the early 14th century. For a couple of generations Randall was a famous manor
house from which
members of the de Cobham family rode forth as sheriffs, knights of the
lords of Parliament. Heny built Randall
in Shorne church and his effigy as Lord of Randall still rests, armed
and cross-legged, in the rebuilt chapel. On his death his son
Stephen succeeded to the barony and for something like a hundred years
the manor remained an important part of the life of the village.
The manor house has now disappeared, but the
site is identifiable. Today, under
a tangle of roots and coppice woodland, traces of the old building show
had substantial stone foundations standing on a rectangular plateau
on three sides by a moat and fishponds.
The Randall Family of Bath. Matthew Randall, the Mayor of Bath, was born about 1571 in
Bath, the son of John and Johanna Randall. He married Agnes
Cullen in 1596 and they
had eight children.
Only four of their
sons lived to adulthood and produced children. Two
died in infancy, as did a daughter
Elizabeth. It was also widely reported
that their son Richard died in childhood. However,
at least one contemporary source
claimed that Richard actually immigrated to Scituate, Massachusetts in
later settled in Maine.
Robert married Joan Richards and had twelve children. Only two survived to adulthood. His
son John became a butcher and moved to London.
He later inherited a portion of his
Matthew’s estate in Bath. Matthew’s
son John, born in 1609, began an
apprenticeship as a woollen draper at the Drapers Company in London and
became a master draper.
son, Matthew, who had been born in 1600, was ordained as a pastor in
1627 and was a rector first
in Somerset and later in Cornwall. His son
John, born in 1640, came to London also as a draper’s apprentice, like
This John was the emigrant to New England,
first being sighted in Westerly, Rhode Island in 1667.
The Comic Innkeeper of Lulworth. William Randall
was born in 1728 in the home of his ancestors in Lulworth, Dorset. He could justifiably be called a character –
the following contemporary account may be a bit of an exaggeration:
was tall, thin and bony, with a long sallow face and dark staring
eyes. His dress consisted usually of a
flannel coat, a scarlet waistcoat with brass buttons, brown stockings
solid shoes with iron buckles. When speaking he gesticulated wildly,
his arms and head about and continually stammering over the many long
sounding words with which he endeavored to embellish his speech.”
was the eldest son of a local innkeeper and
farmer. But the mid-1700’s was a time of
depression in Dorset with poverty always round the corner. Once he walked to London to look for
employment. When he got to Tyburn Gibbet
(now Marble Arch) he found himself confronted with the body of a
villager. Quite distraught, he walked
back home and never left Dorset again.
arrival of King George III and his Court at Weymouth in the last two
decades of the century brought a wave of prosperity to the Dorset
coast. The doctors had told the King that sea bathing was a cure
for his incipient insanity.
of the early visitors was the playwright
John O’Keeffe. There is no doubt
that he was fascinated by Lulworth and his hosts. When
he returned to London he proceeded to
enshrine for all time the Randalls and their inn the Red
Lion in his play The
London Hermit. William Randall was
up there to some ridicule. But the public
All of those who had seen or heard about The
Hermit called to sample William’s Dorset Lamb or Scotch Scollops at
the Red Lion and doubtless to smile
indulgently at the rustic antics of those who were portrayed in the
play. The visitors even included the King who dined there in 1802
and sung its praises.
Stephen Randall’s Revolutionary War. The Revolutionary War broke out when Stephen Randall
was a young man. He cast his lot with
the Continentals. Nearly all of his
neighbors on Long Island,
however, especially those in Wading River, joined the British.
He lived in a sparsely settled section on the
main road between Wading River and the south side of Long Island, the
by the British when they crossed over from Connecticut.
The British soldiers soon made it very
uncomfortable for him by using his barns for their horses and feeding
his expense. Stephen got tired of
this aggravation and formed a company for his home protection.
They did good service until Stephen himself was captured.
Two soldiers were taking him to Halifax when
they stopped at a Tory house in Wading River to get dinner. They left Stephen bound in the kitchen with
the Tory man’s wife. While she was
dinner she set him free, telling him that she would not inform his
his escape for the next two to three hours.
Stephen Randall hurried home, got his gun, dog and some
and remained in hiding until peace was declared. That
old gun remained in the possession of
his family and was highly prized.
Sarah Randall of Elmira, Ontario. The Elmira Signet in SW Ontario reported on July 12, 1906:
“Almost a Centenarian. There died at Berlin last Monday Mrs.Sarah Randall, a former resident of Elmira, aged 99 years, 6 months and 15 days.
The deceased was well known in Elmira, having lived here from the time that Elmira was but a
hamlet until a few years ago when she removed to Berlin to live with her son
Charles. She was in spite of her high age able to be about until within the last year or so. She was the mother of a large family and many of her descendants still live in Elmira and vicinity.”
She had outlived her husband
William Randall by eight years. Had she
lived to the next Christmas she would have made it to a hundred. At time of her death she had 13
grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren, and 7 great great grandchildren.
- Benjamin Randall was the main organizer of the Freewill Baptists in New England in the late 1700’s.
- Jack Randall, known as the Nonpareil, was the leading bare-knuckle boxer in England in the 1820’s.
- James Ryder Randall is best
remembered for his poem Maryland, My
Maryland which became the war hymn of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
- Sir John Randall was an English
physicist who pioneered the development of cavity magnetron, an essential component of radar and later of microwave ovens.
- Tony Randall, born Arthur Rosenberg, was an
American actor best known for his role as Felix Unger in the TV adaptation of The Odd Couple.
- Ruth Rendell has been an English author of thrillers and psychological murder mysteries with her
Chief Inspector Wexford creation.
Select Randall Numbers Today
- 26,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 25,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 16,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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