1. We dont pronounce Pownall like 'paynell' over here!!Usually give equal accent to the two vowels( I still live in Cheshire)
2. I ,like Mr Baldwin, have strong grounds for not believing in the pagnell/Paynell/Paganell Anglo- Norman theory & contact. I will put out a www sometime but basically this family were far too grand for us to be descended from and the paganells virtually disappear from Cheshire by the 13th Century records and we dont. their history is well recorded in the annals of Newton Pagnell in Bucks & yes they owned land in Cheshire...but they were chamberlains to the King who as earl of chester they would be located in Chester itself not out in the boondocks of East Cheshire
3 The earliest recordI have seen quoted is of a Richard de Pounalewhich means Richard from Pownall ( a district today of wilmslow)in a mortgage deed of 1297 to an Edward Phyton( another spelling of the famous ''Fighting''Fittons of Gawsworth & Pownall Fee and you are quite right Pownalls lived in Pownall Hall right up to the 19th Cent. It is a boys school now with someearly structure but mainly Victorian
4 The Cheshire dictionary of plAce names gives 'pownall' as coming from ''Poccas' hall...he would be an anglosaxon( specifially a Mercian )who named the place. Macclesfield for example comes from Macca'sfield another Saxon
5 The contact with Anglo Normans could still be there though as Cheshire was devastated almost more than any other English county by DukeWilliamwho placed his men in almost every estate ( to my memory only one Saxon Earl retained his estates) so we would could have strong Norman as well as Saxon blood lines. 6FinallyI believe many of the Pownalls in the USA are descendedfrom the George & Eleanor, the Quakers who landed in PA in the 1600's. They were then living in mid cheshire ( & married at Witton Church in Northwich which still exists.) So they must be a branchwho move from East Cheshire sometime. Does anyone know about Governor Pownall? he came back to englandi think?
Ps the Victorian branch at Pownall Hall had a notable scion: Major General Henry Pownall who was aide de camp to Lord Gort who led the British Army in France in 1940 ( and the retreat at Dunkirk) and was later with Lord Mountbatten in the Pacific theatre