Venables Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Venables Meaning
The surname Venables originated from the place-name Venables, a village near Evreux in Normandy, and was born by a Norman lord who came to England with William the Conqueror. Venables itself derives from the Latin venabulum meaning a long hunting spear. The Norman lord, Gilbert de Venables, was sometimes known as Gilbert Hunter.  The spelling in America has tended to be Venable.
Select Venables Resources on The Internet

Venables Ancestry

Gilbert de Venables was given Wincham Hall and held the barony of
Kinderton in Cheshire after the Norman conquest of 1066. These
Venables were barons of Chester and Warrington, lords of Middlewich
manor and Kinderton Lodge, and also held Antrobus Hall near
Northwich. The family was a prominent force in medieval

One Venables line was to be found at Millington in
Rostherne parish in
Cheshire from the 16th century onwards. These
Venables were later at Oswestry in Shropshire where
the Rev. Joseph Venables was a Congregational minister in the 1750’s:

  • Lazarus
    Venables, born in Oswestry, was the father of Edward F. Venables, one
    of the
    British army heroes at the time of the Indian mutiny in 1857.
  • another Venables line here led to John Venables of
    Whittington who emigrated on the Caroline
    to Adelaide in South Australia in 1849.

from the Antrobus branch of the family fought for
Oliver Cromwell in Ireland and the West Indies and acquired Wincham
Hall. Venables were to remain there until the 20th century.
Other Venables were recorded at various parishes in Staffordshire
during the 17th century. The Venables of Kinderton became peers
of the realm as Lord Vernon of Kinderton in 1762.

In more recent
times a Venables family has been associated with the Quarry Bank

at Styal in Cheshire.

Most American
bearers of this name are descended from Abraham Venables
who came to Virginia in the 1685 and settled in New Kent county.
Counted as one of the “first families of Virginia,” his descendants
were to distinguish themselves as planters, patriots, statesmen, and

Abraham B. Venable (the family had quickly lost its “s”) was a
Virginia senator after the Revolutionary War, while his nephew Abraham
W. Venable served as congressman. Nathaniel Venable and his sons
were instrumental in founding Hampden-Sidney College where their
children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were
educated. Elizabeth M. Venable’s 1925 book Venables of Virginia narrated the
family genealogy.

Thomas Venable, a Quaker, came to Burlington, New Jersey sometime in
the 1730’s. His family later moved onto Ohio. A fifth
generation descendant in Ohio was the poet, educator, novelist and
historian, William
H. Venable.

of this family moved to SW Louisiana. The Rev. William Venable,
a Methodist minister, arrived from England in 1807 and settled in St.
Parish in Louisiana. Louisiana today has the largest number of
in America.

South Africa.
Daniel Venables from
Staffordshire with his wife and children were among the 1820 Settlers
departed Liverpool for Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape


Venables Miscellany

Venables in Normandy.  Venables is
a village near Evreux in Normandy said to date back some 7,000 years.  It was known in the 13th century as Venablis
or Venabula.  The village is located at
the top of a hill with the focal point being its church.
The hill overlooks the meandering Seine river
which abuts the western borders of the village.
The population of the village today is about 770.
It has a town hall and an elementary school
where close to a hundred school children attend.

Venables gave its name to a young lord
Gilbert de Venables who came with William the Conqueror in 1066 and was
lands in Cheshire.

Venables is clearly
on the map for those of the Venables name in the English-speaking world.  The village has received Venables visitors
from England, America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in recent years. 

The Venables in Cheshire.  The
Venables family was a powerful and
influential force in Cheshire during medieval times.
The Domesday Book of 1086 shows Gilbert
Hunter (for Venables) holding Brereton, Davenport, Kinderton and Witton
(Northwich) and Ralph Hunter holding Stapleford in Cheshire and
Soughton in
Wales.  Later the family became lords of
the manor of Middlewich; while the family colors were to be found in
the coats
of arms of Congleton and Northwich.

was Gilbert de Venables who received Wincham Hall near Northwich after
Norman invasion.  It passed in and out of
the Venables’ family ownership through inheritance, marriage, or sale
in the
following centuries. A descendant of the
Venables family, from Edward Venables Townsend, rebuilt the Hall in the
century. However, the house was badly
damaged by bombing during the Second World War and was later demolished.

Venables family also held Antrobus Hall
in Great Budworth from the early 1400’s and lived there for many
generations before acquiring Wincham Hall in the 17th century.

Robert Venables in the Caribbean and Cheshire.  Robert
Venables had fought well for Cromwell in the Irish campaign of 1649 and Cromwell
recommended him as commander of his land forces in a Caribbean
expedition against
the Spanish.

the fleet reached Barbados
in January 1655 Venables chose to attack the Spanish island of
Hispaniola.  However, it soon became clear
that the
expedition was inadequately supplied and the attack soon went badly
wrong.  Although Venables successfully
directed the
capture of the less desirable island of Jamaica as a means of saving
face, the
expedition was regarded as a failure.

weakened by dysentery, Venables returned to England and was briefly
in the Tower of London for abandoning his post.
He was eventually released, demoted, and never served Cromwell

the Restoration Venables was
briefly appointed governor of Chester.
He did not stay long there and he retired to Wincham Hall where
he lived
quietly with his second wife in a loveless marriage.
In 1662 he published a successful book on
angling, The Experienced Angler.  He died at Wincham in 1687.

Venables from Whitchurch at Quarry Bank.  There
were apparently many Venables in the Shropshire
town of Whitchurch in the 18th and 19th centuries. John
Venables started a grocery business at
Bargates in 1829.  Another Venables
family were bakers on the High Street for many generations in the 19th

Robert Venables and his brother George from Whitchurch
went to work at the Quarry Bank mill in Shropshire in 1790, soon after
it had
been started by Samuel Greg.  This
Venables family was to have a long association with this mill.

Venables was its mill mechanic in the
second half of the 19th century.
He lived in the Apprentice House in Styal until his death in
1901 when
he caught pneumonia in the parade which commemorated Queen Victoria’s
death.  Thomas Venables was working at
the mill at the onset of the First World War.

Abraham Venables of New Kent County, Virginia.  Abraham Venables
was the forebear of a large number of the Venables in America.  Family tradition has him coming from the
Kinderton line in Cheshire.  There is no
proof of this.  Some sources having him
coming from Devon.  But there are no
records of Venables in Devon at that time.
He may have simply departed for America via say Plymouth in

“He was a surgeon in the first regiment of troops sent out
from England
under the command of Sir John Harvie in 1685.  He was so pleased
with the
American colony that he resigned his commission and, receiving from the
King a
grant of land at Manakin town on the James river, he settled there.”

married twice in America.  He had
one or possibly two sons by his first
wife Sara and one son, Abraham born in 1701, by his second wife
Elizabeth.   From
this Abraham came one of the “first families of Virginia” of colonial

The Rev. William Venable and His Descendants.  The
Rev. William Venable arrived from Liverpool, England in 1807, aged 20,
with the itinerant preacher Lorenzo Dow.  He settled on Baker’s
Creek in
Mississippi where Dow helped him establish a church.

He later moved to Liverpool, St. Helena
parish in Louisiana.  He married Sarah
Watson and they raised four children there – William, John, Louis and
Mary.  The Rev. William died in 1868 and
was buried with his wife in the Venable family cemetery in St. Helena.

His descendants remained generally in St.
Helena parish where they attended the Days United Methodist church.

A Bible with Venable family records was
discovered in a house built in 1891 in St. Helena parish.
The Bible had belonged to Clarence Venable
who had moved into the house with his parents when it was new and he
was a
baby.  He died there in 1972.
The house was and still is surrounded by
cedar trees.  Some details on the Venable
family can be gleaned from J.P. Morris’s 1966 book Thru
the Years.

The Venables of Cincinnati, Ohio.  From New
Jersey Quaker stock came Friend William Venable, a surveyor, teacher and
farmer, and a Quaker and abolitionist as well.
He and his wife Hannah moved to Venable Station near Springboro,
where their four children – including their son William H. Venable –
grew up.

William settled in Cincinnati and taught at
the Chickering Institute there for more than a quarter of a century and
in 1881
becoming its principal and proprietor.
Over his lifetime he authored 22 textbooks of poetry, fiction,
philosophy, essays, as well as annotations of English literature.  He also wrote A School History of the
United States
which became a
standard textbook in Ohio.

His son Emerson also taught
English in Cincinnati.  His granddaughter
Evelyn Venable went on to become a noted Hollywood actress in the


Select Venables Names

  • Robert Venables was a soldier for Cromwell in Ireland and the West Indies. Later in life he wrote a treatise on fishing.
  • Charles S. Venable was a mathematics professor in Virginia who became Robert E. Lee’s
    aide-de-camp during the Civil War.
  • Terry Venables was the English football manager who led the national team in Euro 96.

Select Venables Numbers Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Wiltshire)
  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Louisiana)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


Select Venables and Like Surnames.

The Norman Conquest brought new rulers to England and they brought their names and language, a form of French, with them.  Over time their names became less French and more English in character.  Thus Hamo became Hammond, Reinold Reynolds and Thierry Terry and so forth.  The names Allen, Brett, Everett, and Harvey were probably Breton in origin as Bretons also arrived, sometimes as mercenaries.

The new Norman lords often adopted new last names, sometimes from the lands they had acquired and sometimes from places back in Normandy.  Over time the name here also became more English.  Thus Saint Maur into Seymour, Saint Clair into Sinclair, Mohun into Moon, and Warenne into Warren.

Here are some of these Norman and Breton originating names that you can check out.





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