There have been a number of notables in the ranks. SHRAPNEL(L)s in both Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon were prominent wool merchants in the 1600's. One of them built and dedicated a chapel to the inhabitants of Bradford-on-Avon whilst another in Trowbridge was described as the town's benefactor.


The most interesting in contrasting ways were the two HENRYs who lived around the same period of time. The first was the well documented General HENRY SHRAPNEL (1761-1842) whose invention of the case shot shell has provided some degree of notoriety. More about the General on another page.


The second was the nowadays scarcely known HENRY JONES SHRAPNELL (1792-1834) who together with his father WILLIAM FISHER SHRAPNELL, both doctors, were friends and colleagues of the well-famed Doctor EDWARD JENNER of BERKELEY. They worked together to help rid the world of the scourge of smallpox which in those days accounted for the deaths of 40,000 people annually in England alone (see later page). HENRY JONES SHRAPNELL has been increasingly credited for his research on the human ear part of which has been named ‘Shrapnell’s Membrane’.


The General's son HENRY NEEDHAM SCROPE SHRAPNEL of the 3rd Dragoon Guards took most of his family to Canada. Of these the eldest son ARTHUR NEEDHAM SCROPE SHRAPNEL produced in line many of the single 'l' members in England today. Of the other sons of the General, ZACHARIAH SCROPE SHRAPNEL produced JOSEPH NEEDHAM SCROPE SHRAPNEL (1838-1885) a renowned doctor. From the Isle of Wight he emigrated to Australia becoming a pioneer in an original shanty town.


Surprisingly, however, there are not all that many SHRAPNEL(L)s worldwide, in fact only several dozen family groups, each group of course containing several generations. I have done much work in linking these families together on paper and have had considerable success in linking the overseas families back to their roots. This has been with much help from a number of members of the overseas branches who have a keen interest in their ancestry.