The surname Venables originated from the place-name Venables, a village near Evreux in Normandy, and was born by a Norman lord who came to England with William the Conqueror. Venables itself derives from the Latin venabulum meaning a long hunting spear. The Norman lord, Gilbert de Venables, was sometimes known as Gilbert Hunter.
The spelling in America has tended to be Venable.
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England. Gilbert de Venables was given Wincham Hall and held the barony of Kinderton in Cheshire after the Norman conquest of 1066. These Venables were barons of Chester and Warrington, lords of Middlewich manor and Kinderton Lodge, and also held Antrobus Hall near Northwich. The family was a prominent force in medieval Cheshire.
One Venables line was to be found at Millington in Rostherne parish in Cheshire from the 16th century onwards. These Venables were later at Oswestry in Shropshire where the Rev. Joseph Venables was a Congregational minister in the 1750ís:
- Lazarus Venables, born in Oswestry, was the father of Edward F. Venables, one of the British army heroes at the time of the Indian mutiny in 1857.
- another Venables line here led to John Venables of Whittington who emigrated on the Caroline to Adelaide in South Australia in 1849.
In more recent times a Venables family has been associated with the Quarry Bank mill at Styal in Cheshire.
America. Most American bearers of this name are descended from
Abraham B. Venable (the family had quickly lost its "s") was a
Virginia senator after the Revolutionary War, while his nephew Abraham
W. Venable served as congressman. Nathaniel Venable and his sons
were instrumental in founding Hampden-Sidney College where their
children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were
educated. Elizabeth M. Venable's 1925 book Venables of Virginia narrated the
Thomas Venable, a Quaker, came to Burlington, New Jersey sometime in the 1730's. His family later moved onto Ohio. A fifth generation descendant in Ohio was the poet, educator, novelist and historian, William H. Venable.
Other Venables of this family moved to SW Louisiana. The Rev. William Venable, a Methodist minister, arrived from England in 1807 and settled in St. Helena Parish in Louisiana. Louisiana today has the largest number of Venables in America.
South Africa. Daniel Venables from Staffordshire with his wife and children were among the 1820 Settlers who departed Liverpool for Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape.
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Robert Venables was a soldier for Cromwell in Ireland and the West Indies. Later in life he wrote a treatise on fishing.
Charles S. Venable was a mathematics professor in Virginia who became Robert E. Lee's aide-de-camp during the Civil War.
Terry Venables was the English football manager who led the national team in Euro 96.
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