This is an ancient Cornish localional surname. Recorded as Nance or Nancekivell, it is locational from any or all of the four places called Nance in the locality of Lelant, St. Clement, Illogan, and St Martin in Meneage. Nance is from the ancient word nans, meaning a valley or coomb. Nancekivell is similar, but with the addition of the original suffix "cyfel". This is probably from the Old British or Welsh word "ceffyl" meaning a horse, and hence the valley of the horses, although Ceffyl could also be used as a personal name for a man called Horse! Apparently the place now known as Mawgan in Pydar, near St Columb Major, was in medieval times around the 13th century recorded as Nanscuvel. Cornish locational surnames are similar to those in the north of Scotland in that originally they referred to a person of a particular place, whilst most locational names refer to somebody FROM their original homestead. In this case examples of recordings taken at random, include James Naneskevell, a christening witness at St Columb Major, on March 23rd 1540, and Henry Nance a christening at Illogan, on March 1st 1617.
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