Recorded as Pragnall and Pragnell, this is an English surname. It is locational from a now 'lost' medieval village believed to have been in the county of Hampshire. This surmise arises because of the number of recordings from that county although this is not by any means proof. The meaning of the place name and hence the surname is from the Old English pre 7th century personal name 'Paien', meaning a heathen or in religious terms a pagan, itself adevelopment from the Roman (Latin) name 'Paganus', meaning a rustic or copuntry dweller. The phenomenon of the 'lost' village was generally a result of enforced land clearance to make way for sheep pasture in the 15th to 18th centuries, as well as the more natural causes such as the Black Death plague of 1348, civil war at various times, and later emigration. It is estimated that there are between three and five thousand lost villages which have given rise to surviving surnames, often the only public reminder of their original existence. In this case early excamples of the surname recordings taken from surviving church registers include Johan Pragnell, who married Thomas Huff on August 31st 1590, at Romsey, in Hampshire, although the first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Agnes Pragnell who married William Morrys, at Whiteparish, Wiltshire on October 15th 1567. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558-1603. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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