Recorded as Kensall, Kensill, and Kenshole, this is an English surname. It is a locational and believed to be either from Kensal Green, a former village in ancient times, but now swallowed up in the great conurbation of the city of London, or possibly from a now 'lost' medieval village thought to have been situated in the county of Devonshire. An estimated ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 14th Century in the British Isles. The reasons are complex, but include from the 16th century enforced clearance of the land to provide for increased sheep grazing at a time when the textile indusry was developing quickly, the great plagues which swept the through Europe from the 13th century until the 17th century, civil war and even coastal erosion. Early recordings of the surname suggest that it is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements 'cyning', meaning 'the king's', and either 'holh', meaning a valley or depression, or more logically 'holt', meaning a wood. The christening of Alys Kensole was recorded in Crediton, Devonshire, on July 7th 1564, and William, the son of Robert Kensale, was christened at Spreyton in Devon, on May 19th 1661.. Another even earlier recording is that of Elizabeth Kensall who married Harry Davison on November 20th 1541, at St. Stephen's church, Coleman Street, in the city of London. This was during the reign of King Henry VIIIth, 1509 - 1547. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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