An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The history of the name Norris goes back those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain. Such a name was given to a person from the north. The surname is usually derived from the Anglo-French words noreis and norreis, which both mean northerner. Occasionally, Norris is an occupational name for a nurse; in this case, the derivation is from the Old French word norrice, which means nurse. Lastly, the surname Norris is sometimes a local surname for a "dweller at the north house."
The surname Norris was first found in Hampstead Norreys (Hampstead Norris), a village and civil parish in Berkshire. Dating back to the Domesday Book, where it was listed as Hanstede , the village is today still noted for its Norman parish church and the remains of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle nearby. The village name's changed to Hampstede Norreys, when the Norreys family bought the manor in 1448. A branch of the family was found in Speke, Lancashire where at one time they held Speke Hall. "From the de Erneys it came, also by marriage, to the family of Norres, of whom was Sir William Norres, who brought from the palace of Holyrood, at Edinburgh, part of the royal library and some curious pieces of fine oak wainscot, to Speke Hall: this mansion was re-erected by Sir Edward Norres. The family retained the manor until the 18th century, when their heiress married Lord Sidney Beauclerk, fifth son of Charles, Duke of St. Alban's; whose grandson, Charles George, sold Speke to the Watt family. The great hall is very lofty, with wainscot and a ceiling of oak, and having a mantelpiece brought from Holyrood: at each angle of the southern wall, within the court, are two spacious corbelled windows, one of which lights the hall. The house was originally surrounded by a moat, of which the outlines remain, and over which a bridge leads to the principal entrance. The whole forms a highly interesting specimen of old English domestic architecture." 
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Norris family name include Norreys, Norris, Norres, Norrice, Norrish and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Norris research. Another 353 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1481, 1564, 1777, 1405, 1450, 1433, 1507, 1525, 1601, 1572, 1579, 1622, 1622, 1603, 1658, 1702, 1670, 1749, 1675, 1711, 1671, 1735, 1724 and are included under the topic Early Norris History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 265 words (19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Norris Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Norris family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Norris or a variant listed above:
Norris Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Norris Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Norris Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Norris Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Norris Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Norris Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Norris Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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: Feythfully serve
Motto Translation: Faithfully serve
The Norris Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Norris 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 3 April 2016 at 10:02.