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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Monsall, co. Lancaster, and Bury, co. Suffolk). Motto—Proprio vos sanguine pasco. Ar. a pelican in her piety, in her nest sa. Crest—A tower ar. port sa.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Cantrell Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Cantrell Origin:

England, France

Origins of Name:

The surname of Cantrell derives from the Old French word “Chanterelles” which were the trebles, and is used to describe someone who rang the trebles. This surname is known as an occupational surname, which means that it was given to those who completed the task that the name describes. This surname was introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and can sometimes be spelled as Cantwell, which means “son of Cant” or “son of Chant” and could be used to describe the son of the person who rang the Chanterelles.


More common variations are:

Canterell, Cantarell, Cantrelle, Cantrella, Cantrelli, Canntrell, Cantreell, Cantrello, Cantreill, Cantreoll



The first recorded spelling of the surname Cantrell is shown to be Philip Canterel, who was recorded in the “Staffordshire Assize Court” in the year 1203, under the reign of King John, who was known as the “Lackland” and ruled from the year 1199 to the year 1216. In England, the families who bear the name Cantrell living in the Counties of Yorkshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, and the City of London, including the nearby counties.


There are few families who carry the surname of Cantrell in Scotland. However, those who do are keeping residence in Angus, Midlothian, and Lanarkshire Counties.

United States:

During the European Migration, settlers across Europe decided to leave their homes, and sought after a better life. This new life was largely available in the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as The New World, or The Colonies, and promised freedom from religious persecution, new fulfilling and largely available work, and land. However, during the long voyages that it took to make it to the United States, the vessels of travel were cramped, allowing for the spread of disease among much of the traveling population. This not only left some travelers deceased en route to their new life, it also caused many of the emigrating passengers to arrive in the New World ailed by disease. Because of this spread of disease, or lack of recording, there are only a few members of the Cantrell family who were noted as making the travel across the pound successfully. In the 17th Century, William Cantrell landed in Jamestown, Virginia, in the early 1600’s, making him the first recorded person bearing the surname Cantrell to arrive in the U.S. Many years later, in the year 1685, Mary Cantrell landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No recorded people with the Cantrell surname made it to America in the 18th Century, but this lack of information could be due to poor recording, or death en route. In the 19th Century, D. Cantrell arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850, while E. Cantrell, who was forty-seven years of age, and Mrs. Frank Cantrell, who was fifty-four years of age, both emigrated to the United States in the year 1896.

James Cantrell is the most common version of the surname in the United States, followed by William Cantrell and John Cantrell.


There is one recorded person bearing the name of Cantrell who sailed to Australia in the 19th Century. Joseph Cantrell, who was an English Convict from Lancaster was transported to Van Diemen’s Island in the year 1843, aboard the ship named the “Anson.” There are no reported people with the surname Cantrell who traveled to New Zealand during the 17th through 19th Century time period.

Cantrell Today:

United States 40,031

England 710

Australia 357

South Africa 310

Philippines 258

Ireland 147

Germany 134

Canada 82

New Zealand 31

Denmark 20

Notable People:

Laura Cantrell (born in 1967) who was a disc-jockey and country singer-songwriter from America

Willard “Bill” Cantrell (1914-1986) who was a midget, sprint, and stock-car racing driver from America

William “Wild Bill” Cantrell (1908-1996) who was a power boat and IndyCar driver from America, and was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992

Blu Cantrell (born in 1976) who was an R&B soul singer nominated for an American Grammy Award, and was born with the name Tiffany Cobb

Private Charles P. Cantrell (1874-1948) who was a soldier from America who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery

Rob Cantrell, who is a comedian from America

Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. (born in 1966) who is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter from America

Doreen Cantrell FRS, CBE, FRSE, FMedSci, who was a scientist and British Professor of Cellular Immunology at the University of Dundee

Lana Eleanor Cantrell AM (born in 1943) who is a singer and entertainment lawyer from Australia who was nominated for a Grammy Award

Cantrell Coat of Arms Meaning

The main device (symbol) in the Cantrell blazon is the pelican in her piety. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 1. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 2. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3.

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5.

The pelican is often associated with parenthood and “devoted and self sacrificing charity”. 6 It is almost always shown with its young in their nest (in its piety) or pricking its breast in readiness to feed its young with its own blood (vulning herself. 7

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Janai Cantrell commented on 12-Jan-2019
So if the 'so-called-black/African -American" OR just Indigenous people of the Americas had been taken into slavery (because that's what happened )They are given the slave owners last name correct?..thats to say that like me who is what most of the unknowing people call black(moreno)and Puerto rican(or Taino&Spanish)...and have no European.. besides those residing in Spain.Soooo..these coat of arms and family shield info aren't for any "black"person right??well..what about the fact that the Moors (dark skinned people)were in Spain ,England,Scotland,Ireland and have been all over the earth basically before anybody else.so do these predate the European rule at the time?hope I'm asking my questions right


  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 4 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 5 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 6 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P77-78
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Pelican