Surname Norval History and Genealogy

Surname Norval History

Norval Surname Shortened from Normanville

Benjamin Moodie Settlers to SA in

The Ship “Brilliant” comes to South Africa 1817.

Norvals arrive in South Africa | Moodie Settlers 1817

Norval Family Tree and Genealogy since 1817

Norval’s in Concentration Camps 1900 to 1902

Viljoen, Norval and Adendorff

Archibald Joseph

Origin of the Surname Norval

Surname Norval -The first record of the Normanville name in Scotland appears in a land grant of 1190 where a John de Normanville witnessed the transaction for Bernard de Hauden. The form of the name “John de Normanville” simply means “John from Normanville.” At this time in history, common surnames had not yet come into existence. People were signified by the place name their location of birth.

Norval Surname – According to Black’s Surnames of Scotland, Norvell is a shortened form of Normanville. There are two small towns in Normandy, France, named Normanville. One is located between the coastal town of Fecamp and the more inland town of Yvetot, the other town is further Southeast and even more inland, about 6 km North of Evreux. A couple of researchers have indicated a preference for the more coastal town between Fecamp and Yvetot as the place of origin.

What can the name Normanville tell us about the history of the name? The place-name is found in Normandy, France, an area settled by Vikings(Northmen) from Scandinavia. A town called Normanville would indicate a place settled predominantly by Northmen/Vikings. By the way, the Normans were in England and, to a lesser extent Scotland, for some two hundred years BEFORE the so-called Norman conquest. The only battle in that conquest was between WIlliam I and his cousin Harold II, who was also of Norman descent! It seems to have been something of a family affair.

When the first Normanvilles arrived in England, there was a gradual cultural pressure to anglicize their Norman names to fit in with the prevailing local place-name forms. To digress a moment on place names; a small settlement in Germany is called a burg, as in Hamburg, or Wolfsburg. That same situation in France is called a ville, as in Abbeville and Normanville. In England, they were called towns, as in Southampto(w)n or Littlehampto(w)n. When Normanville was anglicized to Norville, the outward meaning of the name changed from ‘Norman village’ to ‘North village.’ Prior to that point, some Normanvilles evidently migrated north into Scotland. Those who remained in England eventually further anglicized the name into Norton (for north town). Some of those Normanville descendants who stayed in England apparently became confused with the Norton family, descended from Seigneur de Norville, a constable of William the Conqueror. (not related, and from the town of la Norville, now a suburb of Arpajon, 33km South of Paris).

For those Normanvilles who followed William the Conquerors foray into Scotland, there was not the same social place-name pressure driving name changes. In fact, when William I went to conquer Scotland, his Norman technique of razing the towns and reducing the populace to living off the country until they surrendered, failed absolutely because there were only scattered settlements. In 1072, he eventually arranged, through church officials, a meeting with the Scottish King, Malcolm Canmore, where the two sovereigns worked out an agreement for Scotland to swear allegiance to William and not cause trouble. So when the name became shortened to Norvel, Norvell and Surname Norval in Scotland, it either remained largely unchanged or was affected by the local gaelic pronunciations resulting in Norvyle, Norvald and other possible variants.

Somewhere in this historical tapestry, some people from Normanville, France, were swept into England and from there into Scotland where they settled down, and can be found today in places such as Edinburgh, Perth, Sterling and Glasgow. With the release of the motion picture Braveheart, one can only wonder which side the Norvells supported when William Wallace was fighting the English in 1297-8! By the1290s, the Norvells had been living in Scotland for at least 100 years, some four generations or more. I wonder if, by then, they thought of themselves as Scots, or did they still ally themselves with the English?

During the early years in Scotland, the name developed several variants: Norvaile, Norvil, Norwald, Nowell, Norvyle, Norrell, Norvill, Norwell and Norwald and Surname Norval to list a few. By the 1500s the name had generally settled into the Norvell or Norval form seen today. However the final “e” seems to recur as either a tag that different Norvells have used from time to time to separate one branch of the family from another, or as a note of confusion that creeps into written records due to inattentive or careless officials.

Benjamin Moodie Settlers to SA in 1817

On 14 June 1817, one of the forerunners of organized immigration to the Cape, Benjamin Moodie begged leave to acquaint the colonial public ‘that, under the sanction of Government, he has arrived from England with a number of mechanics and labourers consisting of smiths, carpenters, cabinetmakers, turners, coopers, masons, tanners, stonecutters, ploughmen, gardeners etc, and that … he proposes hiring part of them out for such periods as may be agreed upon.’ This party arrived on the ship Brilliant. Later the same month he announced that a further 50 were on their way to the Cape, on the Garland, which duly landed at Table Bay on 23 August 1817. They were followed by another group on the Clyde on 24 September 1817. The men were Scottish artisans, about 200 in all, brought out under indenture to Moodie.

This experiment wasn’t an unqualified success. The indentured immigrants were dissatisfied with the conditions of service. A few ran away to become outlaws in the Knysna forests. Some of Moodie’s settlers married into Dutch families.

Benjamin Moodie

Moodie himself was 9th Laird of Melsetter (pronounced Meltster), Orkney. Born 1 January 1779 he married Margaret MALCOLMSON in 1816. Shortly after that the idea of taking indentured settlers to the Cape, and of settling there himself, took strong hold of Moodie’s imagination. He applied for purchase of suitable property. His brother John Moodie also decided to settle in South Africa and arrived on the Mary in 1819. In 1829 he produced a book, ‘Ten Years in South Africa’, before emigrating to Canada. Another brother, Donald Moodie, also later came to South Africa.

Farm Westfield

Benjamin Moodie initially settled on the farm Groot Vaders Bosch which he bought in 1817 and which is still in the possession of his descendants. This farm is close to the Langeberg Mountain in the Heidelberg Cape District, about 25 km from Heidelberg, on the road via Zuurbraak to Swellendam. In 1831 Sir Lowry Cole (Governor of the Cape) granted Benjamin the farm Westfield (5250 morgen) at the mouth of the Breede River – the farm was named after the ancestral home of Benjamin’s mother. He build his homestead here in 1832. It was a pretentious mansion by the standards of 1831. He moved to Westfield as soon as the house was completed and died and was buried at Westfield in 1856. His son Malcolm took over Westfield. Malcolm is my Great Grand father. – Guy Moodie.

Norvals arrive in South Africa | Moodie Settlers 1817

Norvals arrive in South Africa – In 1817 the three brothers Archibald, William and John( snr) came to the Cape as part of the Benjamin Moodie Settlers. John (snr) also brought his son John (jnr). They arrived on the ship “Brilliant” on 14 June 1817.

After Napoleon was defeated in 1815 at Waterloo the soldiers returned to there respective countries. In Europe there was unemployment and poverty as a result. After the Cape became a permanent British Colony in 1806, immigration to South Africa became an option. Benjamin Moodie gathered Scots between the ages of 18 – 25 and un married for his immigration plans. 1500 applied but only 200 were selected. They were moved to the Cape in groups of 50 aboard the ships. The first group left on the 5 May 1817 and after 11 weeks the Norvals arrive in South Africa.

Archiebald was a Comb Maker and started a business called A.N.& Co in 17 Wale (Waal?) street Cape Town on 6 December 1817. he later left and moved to the Eastern Province and married Anna Wilhelmina van Staden in 1824 at the NG Church Uitenhage.

John (snr) left Cape Town for Colesburg where he became a Horse Breeder. Colesburg became a busy town and the crossing of the Orange river became a problem. On their farm “Dapperfontein” next to the Orange River John made a barge called the “Clyde” at Port Glasgow as the area was known. This later became “Norvals Pont”. 

I dont have much information on William Norval. Any information would be welcome.

John Norval snr ?

John (jnr) left Cape Town in 1828 and moved to Graaf Reinet, he was a Hat Maker. He later became interested in Sheep farming and bought the farm “Roodepoort” across the Orange River near Philippolis.

John Norval jnr

John (jnr) married Mary Jane Murray in 1831 at Graaf Reinet, the wedding was confirmed by Ds. Andrew Murray, the father of the well known Dr. Andrew Murray.

Mary Jane Murray