The MANUEL surname and its various spellings
has been associated with Scotland long before history first recorded the
name in 1156.
It is probable that the name has very early
origins in Scotland, but The Priory of MANUEL appears to be the first
proven use of the name in an historical record. The Cistercian Order
built The Priory of MANUEL on the Banks of the Avon River a short
distance to the West of Linlithgow. The Priory was consecrated for
"ladies of rank" by Malcolm IV in 1156. It was a tradition that
Priories were given the name of the local Lord of the Manor or the
nearest village. The local village of Manuel is now called Whitecross
and records are unclear when the first use of the name MANUEL appeared,
with some writers claiming an ancient Barony of MANUEL existed before
George F. Black's Surnames of Scotland
records a "Sir Michael de Mauwel, Monk of Aberbrothok 1361(may be meant
for MANWEL (MANUEL))". "John MANUEL of Stirlingshire rendered homage
in 1269 and Alexander MANUEL was a Monk of Holyrood in 1299." " David
de MANUEL is mentioned in a lease of land in Angus in 13 29". "William
de MANUEL was abbot of Neubotle from 1413-1419." "John MANVELL was
sergeant of the barony of Inverleith in 1610." There are other MANUEL
records in Scotland, but too numerous to mention here.
The first genealogical record for the name
MANUEL appears in Airth (Alexander 1644) and another at Prestonpans where
the first recorded Marriage of a MANUEL was in 1546. This suggests
that there are perhaps two MANUEL family groups in Scotland, and as yet
without a proven common ancestor to link the names to one family.
However there is little doubt, that if we could research back far enough
in time, a common ancestor would be identified to link these two MANUEL
family groups into one family.
Today members of the Airth and Prestonpans
MANUEL families are spread throughout the World. The writer is a
member of the Prestonpans MANUEL family and now lives in Queensland,
Australia. At least two members of the Airth MANUEL family still
reside in Scotland - James lives in Argyll and his brother, not because
of inheritance, but he just happens to live at MANUEL House and only a
few yards from the ruins of The Priory of MANUEL.
The name MANUEL also exists since early
1600s in Northumberland and Cornwall.