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

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

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Kennersley surname lived in Kinnersley or Kinnerley. Kinnerley is found in Salop (now called Shropshire), and Kinnersley is found in Herefordshire. The place-names come from a similar root, though. They are both based upon the Old English personal name Cynheard, with the Old English word leah, which meant forest clearing, as a suffix. The place-name as a whole meant forest clearing belonging to Cynheard.

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It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Kennersley are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Kennersley include: Keynardsley, Kennersley, Kenersley, Kynnardsley, Kinnardsley, Kinnersley, Kynnersley, Kynersley, Kynersly, Kynnersly, Kinnersly, Kinersly, Kinnersley and many more.

First found in Herefordshire where, according to an ancient manuscript the family is possessed of a very ancient pedigree. The manuscript reads: "The family of the Kynnersley is very ancient, being seated long before the Norman Conquest (1066 A.D) in the commune of Hereford in a castle so called at present. In the Domesday Book it is recorded that when William the Conqueror was possessed of his new kingdom he sent his commissioners throughout ye remote parts thereof (1086,) to knowe how every man held his lands. In which tyme there was an ould gentleman that lived and was owner of Kynnardsley Castle in Hereford by name John de Kynnardsley, and by title a knight (if any knights were before the Conquest). This old gentleman was blind, he had then livving with him twelve sonnes(sons,) whom with himself he armed, and stood in his castle gate, his halberd in his hand, attending the coming of sheriffs and other commisioners from ye king, who being arrived, demanded of him by what tenure he held his castle and lands; ye old knight replyed by his armes, showing to them his halberd."


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kennersley research. Another 323 words(23 lines of text) covering the years 1130 and 1654 are included under the topic Early Kennersley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Kennersley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Kennersley or a variant listed above:

Kennersley Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Phillip Kennersley who settled in Virginia in 1635

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nec opprimere nec opprimi
Motto Translation: Neither to oppress nor to be oppressed.

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  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  5. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  11. ...

The Kennersley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kennersley 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 9 July 2014 at 16:28.

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