This is a noble locational surname of ancient origins. It derives from a place in Hertfordshire which appears in the rolls of the Abbey of St Albans as 'Norta Haga' and later in the Curia Regis rolls of King John in 1201 as 'Norhaghe'. The name means 'The Northern Hall' and may refer to a manor which lay at the northern outpost of the see of St Albans, but more likely is an even older name handed down from the times of the Vikings or the Anglo-Saxons. What does seem clear is that the early holders of the name were all churchmen of considerable status. These 'Northalls' include the first name holder below, whose career seems to have commenced with his appointment as Canon of St Pauls, London in about the year 1170, before being appointed Archdeacon of Gloucester in 1177. An even more powerful churchman was Richard Northall, who was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1393, and Archbishop of Dublin in 1396. Unfortunately it probably did him little good as he died the following year. John Northall (1723 - 1759) was a captain in the British army, and apparently a literate one. He was the author of one of the first continental travel guides called 'Travels through Italy'. This was published in 1766 and for many years was the standard work on the subject. The coat of arms has the blazon of a green field, charged with three dexter hands couped - all gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Northall, which was dated 1186, who was appointed Lord High Bishop of Worcester, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder' 1154 - 1189. 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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