Recorded in various spellings including Ravenhall, Ravenell, Ravenall, and Ravenhill, this is an English surname. It has several possible origins. It may be locational and derive from a place called Ravenshill in the North Riding of Yorkshire, but the confusion arises because the early Yorkshire records also refer to the ancient baptismal name 'Ravenhilde'. This is a development of the Norse-Viking pre 7th century 'Hrafnildr', which has two elements, 'Hrafn' (the raven) and '-ildr' which is probably a short form of 'cild' - meaning a child. What is certain is that the name has a long and honourable history, and dates back to the very beginnings of surnames. Examples of these recordings include Williemus fils Rauenilde in the 1297 Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire and William Ravenhild in the Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire for the year 1276. The first name recording as shown below suggests that there may have been other places called 'Ravenhill' which are now 'lost'. Other recordings include Roger Ravenchil in the Feet of Fines rolls for King Richard 11 (1377 - 1399) and John Ravenell, whose daughter Anne Maria, was christened at the church of St Mary Aldermary, London in the year 1700. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nycolas de Ravenhill, which was dated 1230, in the pipe rolls of the county of Hereford, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272.
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