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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: French, Welsh

Where did the Welsh Challen family come from? What is the Welsh Challen family crest and coat of arms? When did the Challen family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Challen family history?

The surname Challen is derived from the Old English word "chaloun," which means "blanket." This word comes from the place named Châlons-sur-Marne, a prosperous industrial center in Europe, where these items were produced. The name is thought to have been occupational for someone who made or sold blankets or coverlets. The surname Challen may also be a local surname given to someone who came from this place.

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Although there are not an extremely large number Welsh surnames, there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations of those surnames. This variety of spellings began almost immediately after the acceptance of surnames within Welsh society. As time progressed, these old Brythonic names were eventually were recorded in English. This process was problematic in that many of the highly inflected sounds of the native language of Wales could not be properly captured in English. Some families, however, did decide to modify their own names to indicate a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even a patriotic affiliation. The name Challen has seen various spelling variations: Chaloner, Challener, Challenor, Challinor, Chalener, Chalenor, Challoner, Chalinor, Challon, Challin, Challen, Chalen, Chalin and many more.

First found in Powys (Welsh: Powys), a Welsh Kingdom in post-Roman times, now a county of Wales created by joining the former counties of Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire, and Breconshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Challen research. Another 253 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1472, 1559, 1615, 1595, 1661, 1650, 1699 and 1699 are included under the topic Early Challen History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 173 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Challen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in search of land, work, and freedom. These immigrants greatly contributed to the rapid development of the new nations of Canada and the United States. They also added a rich and lasting cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Challen: Robert Challener who settled in Barbados in 1679 with his wife and servants; Thomas Challenor settled in Jamaica in 1684; Alexander Challinor settled in Virginia in 1698.

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  • Colin Robert Challen (b. 1953), British Labour Party politician
  • Charles Challen (1894-1960), British barrister and Conservative politician
  • John Bonamy Challen (1863-1937), English cricketer who made 52 first-class appearances
  • Dr Craig Challen, Australian technical diver and cave explorer, recipient of the Oztek 2009 Diver of the Year Award
  • Albert Charles Challen (1847-1881), British painter
  • James Challen (1825-1900), English cricketer
  • James Challen (b. 1787), English cricketer


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  1. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  2. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  5. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Challen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Challen Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 19 August 2013 at 15:32.

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