Argall family Worldwide

Early Argall Family Movement

The early inhabitants of Cornwall would originally have been called such names as John de (’of’ or ’from’) Argal, eventually being shortened over a period of time to John Argal. This does not mean that all ARGALLs are related from the same human origin, but they almost all certainly originate from this single geographical area (Argal) on the northern banks of the Helford River in Mabe parish of Cornwall.

Families and individuals with this Argall surname had moved from the Budock/Mabe area into adjacent areas of St Keverne and Camborne, on either side of the Helford basin, from the late 14th and early 15th Centuries. By the early 16th Century they had also extended into Helston town and, via Gulval, to Madron, a small village close to modern–day Penzance (which was then a coastal village in Madron parish). Others, who were wealthier, had moved to London, the capital city of England and the cetre of government, by the mid–15th Century but the major development was in Cornwall. The Cornwall Military Survey of 1522 records the following:

The 1522 Survey of Tinners Muster Roll , also lists:

  Peris Argall of Camborne Parish Sling
  Walter Argall of Gwynnyar (Gwinear) Parish Bill Sallet
  Richard Argall of Budoke (Budock) Parish Bill

Two years later in 1524, and again in 1543 two additional lists were drawn up. The Cornwall Subsidies Lists in the Reign of Henry VIII 1524 & 1543, and the Benevolence of 1545 , lists able–bodied men who were capable of bearing arms. The following occurrences of the ARGALL name in the early 16th Century appear in the Subsidies:

  1524 Peter Argall Camborne Parish
  1524 Thomas Argall Gulval Parish
  1524 Walter Argall Arworthal (i.e. Perranarworthal) Parish
  1524 Henry Argall St. Martin (in Meneage) Parish
  1524 John Argall Helston Parish
  1543 Richard Argoull St. Budock Parish
  1543 Michael Argoull St. Budock Parish
  1543 Wattye Argall Wynyer (Gwinear) Parish
  1543 Harry Argaull St. Martin–in–Meneage Parish

Some of these are listed twice – once for each year’s list. Henry/Harry are almost certainly the same person in these two lists, and is also quite probably the same person as that referred to in the Cornwall Military Survey of 1522. Similarly, Peris/Peter are probably the same, as would be Walter/Wattye. Particular attention should be paid to Thomas Argall who was living in Gulval, because Gulval is only half a mile from Madron and the two areas were probably a single parish at that date (the parish of Madron was formed in 1577). This Thomas is probably in all our direct line.

Some years later, the Cornwall Muster Roll of 1569 listed all able–bodied men aged between 16 and 60 who were capable of bearing arms. The following occurrences of the ARGALL surname (using the original spelling) are included:

  Ronalde Argall Bow & sheaf of arrows Budocke Paryshe
  Jarrys Argall Pike Budocke Paryshe
  Mychill Argall Bill Camborne Paryshe

None of these are known in our ancestry.

All but one of the Parishes listed are in the same geographical area inland from modern Falmouth. This shows how the family had spread out from the Argoll (or Argel) hamlet in Budock/Mabe parish after which the families were named, during the 14th and 15th Centuries, although they remained still fairly close by. A large concentration of ARGALLs seems to have developed particularly in St Keverne which is across the Helford River, about 10 miles to the south of St. Budock (now Budock Water). The earliest documentary references to the family, and property it owned, do mention both St. Budock and St Keverne.

So the spread out of the family included a move into the Penwith area of western Cornwall by the dawn of the 16th Century. Continuous documentary evidence proves that all ARGALLs alive today (at the beginning of the 21st Century), and who were born with the surname, are descended from those who lived in Madron in West Cornwall in the mid–16th Century. The first ARGALL entries in the Madron parish registers are for a marriage in 1578, and the first baptism is recorded in 1593. However, when church registers were first introduced in 1538, there was no guidance given as to how these registers were to be maintained; many were kept in a loose–leaf format and some pages will have been lost. It was only in the 1570s that the government of Elizabeth I detailed that the registers were to be kept on parchment in a proper book.
The only complication over following the recording of Argall events concerns those children more recently adopted as Argalls; these will have produced offspring in the Argall name but without the original Argall bloodline. Thus, with this sole proviso, the track of the Argall family (proper) development to the modern day is firmly established from documentary evidence as coming from Madron parish in Cornwall.

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