Here is some info, it is long so I will only paste a few pages here,
Steve (coat of arms is near the end)
HISTORY OF THE CANTRELLS
Origin of Surnames and Coat of Arms
Until about 1100 A. D., most people in Europe had only one name. As the population increased, it became awkward to live in a village wherein perhaps one third of the males were named John, another sizable percentage named William, and so forth.
To distinguish one John from another, a second name was needed. There were four primary sources for these second names: a man’s occupation, his location, his father’s name, or some peculiar characteristic of his.
Occupation: The local house builder and grain grinder might be named, respectively, John Carpenter and John Miller.
Location: The John who lived near a stream might become John Brook; the John who lived near a marshy, swampy area might be known as John Boggs.
Patronymical (father’s name): Many of the surnames can be recognized by the termination-son, such as Jackson, to denote a son of Jack. Some endings used by other countries to indicate “son” are: Armenian -- ian; Danish and Norwegian -- sen; Finnish -- nen; Greek -- pulos; Spanish -- ez; and Polish -- wiecz. Prefixes denoting “son” are the Welsh -- Ap; the Scotch and Irish -- Mac; and the Norman -- Fitz. Incidentally, the Irish O’ denotes grand-
Characteristics: An unusually small person might be named Short or Little; a large man might be named Large. Those with traits attributable to animals, for example, might be called Fox or Hogg.
In addition to needing an extra name for identification, one occupational group found it necessary to go a step further. The fighting man of the middle ages wore a metal suit of armor for protection. Since this suit of armor included a helmet that completely covered the head, a knight in full battle dress was virtually unrecognizable. To prevent friend from attacking friend during the heat of battle, it became necessary for each knight to somehow identify himself. Many knights accomplished this by painting colorful patterns on their battle shields. These patterns were also woven into cloth surcoats which were worn over a suit of armor, thus was born the term, “coat of arms.”
As this practice grew more popular, it became more and more likely that two knights unknown to one another might be using the same insignia. To prevent this, records were kept that granted the right to a particular pattern to a particular knight. His family also shared his right to display these arms. In some instances, these records have been preserved and compiled into book form, listing the family name and an exact description of the coat of arms granted to that family.
Earliest Recorded History of Cantrells
The ancient chronicles of England reveal the early records of the name Cantrell as a Norman surname which ranks as one of the oldest. The history of the name is closely inter
woven into the majestic tapestry which is an intrinsic part of the history of Britain.
In-depth research by skilled analysts into ancient manuscripts such as the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086 by William the Conqueror, the Ragman Rolls, the Honour Roll of the Battel Abbey, Pipe Rolls, the Falaise Roll, various tax records, baptismals, family genealogies, and local church records show the first record of the name Cantrell was found in Lancashire where they were seated from early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Many alternate spellings were found in the archives researched, typically linked to a common root, usually one of the Norman nobles at the Battle of Hastings. Although the name Cantrell occurred in many references, the surname included Cantrel, Cantrill, Chantrell, Chantrel -- these various spellings occurred even between father and son. Often, scribes recorded and spelled the name as it sounded.
Typically, a person would be born with one spelling, married with another, and buried with a headstone which showed another, when all three spellings related to the same person. Sometimes, preferences for different spelling variations resulted either from a branch pref-
erence, religious affiliation, or even nationalistic statements.
Some genealogists believe the family name Cantrell is descended originally from the Norman race, and not of French origin, as has so commonly been accepted (see Origin and Spelling of the Name). The Cantrells were more accurately of Viking origin. The Vikings landed in the Orkneys and Northern Scotland about 870, under their King, Stirgud the Stout. Thorfinn Rollo, his descendant, landed in northern France about 940. After Rollo laid siege to Paris, the French King, Charles the Simple, finally conceded defeat and granted northern France to him. Rollo became the first Duke of Normandy, the territory of the north men. Rollo married Charles’ daughter and became a convert to Christianity. Duke William, who invaded and defeated England in 1086, was descended from the first Duke Rollo of Normandy.
Duke William took a census of most of England in 1086 and recorded it in the Domesday Book. Any family name capable of being traced back to this manuscript, or to Hastings, was a signal honor for most families during the Middle Ages, and even to this day.
The surname Cantrell emerged as a notable family name in the county of Lancashire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity, seated at Monsall with manor and estates in that shire. They were descended from a Norman noble who arrived from Cantrell in Normandy and were granted lands by King William. A later descendant was William Chanterell who held the manor about 1200. They later branched to Suffolk where they held estates at Bury. The family flourished on their estates for many centuries, intermarrying with other distinguished families of the area. Notable among the family at this time was William Chanterell.
The surname Cantrell contributed much to the local politics and in the affairs of England or Scotland. During the 11th and 12th centuries, many of these Norman families moved north to Scotland. Later, in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, England was ravaged by religious and political conflict. The Monarchy, the Church and Parliament fought for supremacy. Religious elements -- the State Church, the Roman Church and the Reform Church -- vied for control. All, in their time, made demands on rich and poor alike. They broke the spirit of men and many turned from religion, or alternatively, renewed their faith, pursuing with vigor and ferocity, the letter of the ecclesiastical law. Many families were freely “encouraged” to migrate to Ireland or to the “colonies.” Non-believers or dissidents were banished, sometimes even hanged.
The settlers in Ireland became known as the “Adventurers for land in Ireland.” They undertook to keep the Protestant faith. In Ireland, they settled in county Leix and county Dublin where this famous Quaker family settled in Cantrellstown.
The democratic attitudes of the New World spread like wildfire. Many migrated aboard the fleet of sailing ships known as the “White Sails.” The stormy Atlantic, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and smallpox took their toll on the settlers; many of these tiny, overcrowded ships arrived with only 60 or 70% of their passenger list. The migration or banishment to the New World continued, some voluntarily from Ireland, but mostly directly from England or Scot-
land, their home territories. Some clans and families even moved to the European continent.
In North America, migrants who could be considered a kinsman of the family name Cantrell (or variable spellings of that surname) included William Cantrill who settled in Virginia in 1608. William was descended from Humphrey Cantrill from Woodley Wokingham. The Cantrells settled in Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New York. There is even a record of a D. Cantrell who arrived in San Francisco in 1850. From the port of arrival, many settlers joined the wagon trains westward. During the Revolutionary War, some declared their loyalty to the Crown and moved northward into Canada and became known as the “United Empire Loyalists.”
Origin and Spelling of the Name
The surname CANTRELL is believed to be associated with a nickname meaning, “one who rang the chantrelle, or small bell.” Dictionaries of surnames indicate probable spelling variations of Cantrell to be Cantrill, Cantle, Cainterele and Quayntell.
The name of Cantrill, wherever found, can be traced to the original family of Chantrell, or Chantrelle, in France. (Some research analysts, however, believe the name descended from the Norman race and has been mistakenly assumed to be of French origin.)
In “Armorial Generale”, by J. B. Rietstap, the name is given as Chantrell, Cantrelle and Canteral; in “La Grande Encyclopedia”, as Chantrell and Canteral; in “La France Heraldique”, as Chantrell (de) and Chantre (le), while in “Noblisse Universale”, by M. L. Vicomte Magny, it is given as Cantrel.
In “British Family Names”, by Henry Barber, the following appears: “Cantrell (French), Cantrel, Chantrell. The first of the name in England was William Chantrell, time King John, A. D. 1199.”
Mark Antony Lower gives the definition thus: “Cantrill, Cantrell, from Cantrellus, the little singer.”
Charles Waring Bardsley’s “Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames” says:
“Cantrell, Cantrill, one who rang the Chantrelle. Chantrelle, a small bell. Chanter, to sing.”
The name is spelled in various ways, viz: Cantrill, Cantrell, Cantrall, Cantrelle, Cantril, Cantrel, Cantral, Chantrell and Chauntrell. Even the names of Cainterele and Quayntell have been found. The spelling has always been one of personal taste, since even brothers have spelled it differently.
In this brief history, and in the genealogy following, the name will be spelled as it was and is used by the different branches of the family.
One source states that the earliest records of the family are French. The first mention of the name outside of France is William Chantrell who retained the French spelling in England during the time of King John.
Among those bearing the old and distinguished name of Cantrell:
1. ANICE CANTRELL (Cainterel, fl. 1273) is recorded in the “Hundred Rolls” as being from the County of York.
2. JOHANNA CANTRELL (Quayntell, fl. 1379) is recorded in the “Poll Taxes” of Yorkshire, according to Bardsley’s “Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames.”
3. HENRY CANTRELL (1685-1773) was an Episcopal Minister who became Perpetual Curate of St. Alkmunds in Derbyshire. When this benefice was created a Vicarage, he was its first Vicar.
4. DEADERICK HARREL CANTRELL (1868-1934), in addition to his law practice, served as President of the Little Rock Railway and Electric Company, during 1924 and 1934, and Director of the Arkansas State Rice Milling Company and the Central Bank of Little Rock.
5. ORBY LEE CANTRELL (1906-1982) was instrumental in the Incorporation of the Town of Pound, VA and served as its second mayor. He was the first Vice President of Peoples Bank, chartered October 15, 1946. He also served in the Virginia House of Delegates for 32 years (1951-1982) under eight governors. U. S. Highway 23 in Southwest Virginia was renamed “Orby Cantrell Highway” in his honor.
Coat of Arms
There is a great diversity of opinion among authorities as to the time that coat of arms became hereditary. The majority give the twelfth century, although a few give an earlier date.
In 1482, Richard III incorporated the Heralds’ College, or College of Arms. On the establishment of the Heralds’ College, periodical visitations of the different counties were directed to take cognizance of the Arms, Pedigrees and Marriages of the Nobility and Gentry of England. In the Heralds’ Visitations of the counties of Cheshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Berkshire and Derbyshire, pedigrees are given of Chantrells, Cantrells and Cantrills as belonging to the gentry, and all bearing the same coat armor.
Documentation for the Cantrell Coat of Arms can be found in “Burke’s General Armory.” The ancient Cantrell coat of arms was:
Argent, A Pelican in her Piety, Sable and Black.
Crest, A Tower and Argent.
The Pelican was one of the first emblems used in Heraldry; its simplicity would indicate that it is very ancient.
One of the earliest works published on Heraldry states:
“The Pelican was by Egyptians made the hieroglyphic of maternal affection, for she, when her young ones had been bitten by serpents that had secretly invaded her nest, launches her bosom and with the purple balsom that streams from the opened sluices not only expels the infused venom, but likewise cements and cures the wounds inflicted by the noxious adversaries.”
Another old history offers this:
“The Pelican. The Egyptian priests used the Pelican for hieroglyphic to express the four duties of a father toward his children, whereof the first is Generation; second is his office of Education; third of Training Up or Instructions of Learning; fourth, the Duty of informing his children with the Example of his Virtous and Honest Life.”
Webster’s International Dictionary states:
“Pelican in her Piety (in heraldry and symbolical art), a representation of a Pelican in the act of prodding her breast, in order to nourish her young with her blood, a practice attributed to the bird, on account of which it was adopted as a symbol of the Redeemer and of charity.”
The family motto “PROPRIO VOS SANGUINE PASCO” translates:
“I feed you of my blood.”