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Knowles, Ó Tnúthghail, Newell Genealogy
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Knowles, O'Knowell, Ó Tnúthghail, Newell

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Newell is Ó Tnúthghail in Irish. This was a minor sept located on the border of the counties of Kildare and Meath and the name was first anglicized as O'Knowell, from where the modern Knowles come. As Newill it appeared in the Hearth Money Rolls for Co. Tyrone (1664). Three Knowles were distinguished in various branches of literature in the nineteenth century. Three Newells, too, all from the Belfast area, are noteworthy: one Edward J. Newell (1771-1798) as an informer, Alexander Newell (1824-1893) was a distinguished scientist and Hugh Newell (b.1830) an artist of repute in America.  
Source:  More Irish Families, Edward MacLysaght, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1996.

Surname explanation:  "The name carries us to the gently rising slopes in the woods, grassy and free of timber, the old form of Knowles being de la Cnolle which means of the hill."  Also termed as at the knoll or summit.   Early French/Norman versions of the surname are:

Robert de la Cnolle:  1185 Theobold De Cnolle: 1242 Thomas Knolle: 1279
William Atte Knole: 1296 Adam Del Knol Christopher Knolles

Sir Robert Knowles (1317-1407) English leader of free companies in France in opposition to DuGuesclin.  John (Jean Le Vaillant, or Le Conquerant), duke of Brittany from 1365, whose support for English interests during the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) nearly cost John the forfeit of his duchy to the French crown. 

John was educated at the court of King Edward III of England. He ended the War of the Breton Succession in September 1364 by defeating Charles of Blois at Auray; he was recognized as duke of Brittany by King Charles V of France in the Treaty of Guérande (April 12, 1365). John secretly aided Edward's cause in 1370, giving the English soldier Robert Knowles a haven in Brittany when Knowles faced defeat at the hands of French forces. In 1372, after making an alliance with Edward, John was granted the earldom of Richmond for allowing the English to garrison his fortresses in Brittany.  source:  Encyclopedia Britannica

James Sheridan Knowles (May 12, 1784-Nov 30, 1862).  An Irish dramatist, James was born in Cork.  His father was the lexicographer, James Knowles (1759-1840).  His best known play was The Hunchback, produced at Covent Garden in 1832.  The son of James, Richard Brinsley Knowles (1820-1882), was a well known journalist.

Frances Ann Kemble popular English actress who is also remembered as the author of plays, poems, and reminiscences, the latter containing much information about the stage and social history of the 19th century. She was an even greater success in 1830 in The Hunchback, which Sheridan Knowles wrote for her.  In 1832 she went with her father to the United States and enjoyed immediate success from her debut in Fazio in New York. She subsequently appeared also in The Hunchback and as Juliet to her father's Romeo.  

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