This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval origin and derives from a nickname derived from the Middle English, Old French word "cardinal", cardinal, the church dignitary, from the Latin "cardinalis", originally an adjective meaning crucial or vital. The nickname would have been bestowed on someone who had played the part of a cardinal in a medieval pageant, or who habitually dressed in red clothes or perhaps someone who acted like a cardinal, in a lordly and patronizing manner. In some cases the surname may have denoted a servant who worked in a cardinal's household. the modern surname can be found as "Cardinal", "Cardinall", "Cardnel" or "Carnell". One Thomas Cardnell was christened at Stoke by Mayland, Suffolk, on the 19th of August 1726. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ingelrannus Cardinal, which was dated 1190, The Yorkshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard I, "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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