Recorded in a very wide range of spellings including Senecall, Seneschall, Senecaut, Senecaux, Senechault, and the English dialectals Seneogles and Zeongles, this is a surname of pre 8th century Anglo-Saxon and French origins, but is ultimately Germanic. It is an occupational surname of status, which originally described an official called a 'seneschal'. This person was responsible for adminstrating the domestic arrangements in a royal or noble household. Perhaps not surprisingly the Seneschal was an extremely powerful person, since he was often also entrusted with the administration of justice within the (usually) very large household. The term was possibly used in England and Scotland before the Conquest of 1066, but in anycase was certainly used by the Normans thereafter. It derives originally from the Roman (Latin) "senior", meaning an Elder or later Alderman, and a term of respect, plus "scalc", a servant. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from the surviving charters and registers of Greater London include: Thomas Senycle in the register of citizens in 1395, Sarah Seneskell at St Botolphs Bishopgate in 1693, Thomas Zenogles at the church of St Lawrence Jewry on April 1st 1786, and John Senogles at St Pancras Old Church, on February 27th 1829. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Alan le Senescall, in the Assize Rolls of the county of Staffordshire in 1194. This was during the reign of King Richard Ist known as 'Coeur de Lyon', 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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