Norris History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1] 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." [2]

Early Origins of the Norris family

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 [3], 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. "The Norris family had, however, before this begun to acquire lands in the township, Alan le Norreys of Speke being apparently the first to do so. A younger son of Alan, John le Norreys, established himself at Woolton. John's elder son John, who succeeded, is mentioned in the settlement made by Sir Henry le Norreys in 1367." [4]

In the 14th century, some of the family were found in West Derby, Lancashire. "The Norris family had an estate here in the fourteenth century, acquired by William, a younger son of John le Norreys of Speke. It descended in the fifteenth century to Thomas Norris, whose daughter and heir Lettice married her distant cousin Thomas Norris of Speke, and so carried the estate back to the parent stock. One of their grandsons, William Norris, was settled here, his estate remaining with his descendants to the end of the seventeenth century. The family remained constant to the Roman Church and had to face loss and suffering in consequence, especially during the Commonwealth; thus the threat of a fresh outbreak of persecution as a result of the Oates plot appears to have broken the resolution of 'Mr. Norris of Derby,' who conformed to the legally established religion in 1681. Norris Green is supposed to indicate the site of their estate." [4]

"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." [5]

Early History of the Norris family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Norris research. Another 177 words (13 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, 1575, 1584, 1597, 1599 and are included under the topic Early Norris History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Norris Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Norris family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Lady Alice Norreys (c. 1405-1450), an English Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; Sir William Norreys (1433-1507), a famous Lancastrian soldier, and later an Esquire of the Body to King Edward IV; Henry Norris "Norreys" (1525-1601), created 1st Baron Norreys in 1572; Francis Norris (1579-1622), 2nd Baron Norreys, who was made Earl of Berkshire and Viscount Thame in 1622, one day...
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Norris Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Norris family to Ireland

Some of the Norris family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 147 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Norris migration to the United States +

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
  • Mary Norris, who arrived in America in 1620 [6]
  • Edward Norris, who settled in Salem in 1630
  • Jo Norris, aged 18, who arrived in Bermuda in 1635 [6]
  • Ann Norris, who landed in Maryland in 1637 [6]
  • Eliz Norris, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Norris Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Martin Norris, who landed in Virginia in 1712 [6]
  • Humphrey Norris, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1717-1718 [6]
  • Charles Norris, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1730-1731 [6]
  • Richard Norris, who arrived in America in 1765 [6]
  • Philip Norris, who arrived in Maryland in 1776 [6]
Norris Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Norris, who landed in America in 1804 [6]
  • Tho Norris, aged 56, who landed in New York, NY in 1804 [6]
  • Martha Norris, who arrived in America in 1805 [6]
  • James Norris, who arrived in America in 1805 [6]
  • Patrick Norris, aged 25, who landed in Louisiana in 1813 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Norris migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Norris Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Norris, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • William Norris, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Robert Norris, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
Norris Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Norris, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1829
  • Ebenezer Norris, who landed in Canada in 1835
  • James Norris, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1836
  • William Norris, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Mrs. Alice Norris, aged 24 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Avon" departing 19th May 1847 from Cork, Ireland; the ship arrived on 26th July 1847 but she died on board [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Norris migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Norris Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Norris, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for life, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Miss Ann Norris who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life for highway robbery, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 20th November 1823, arriving in New South Wales, Australia and Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Joseph Norris, a shipwright, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. James Norris, British Farmer who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life for breaking and entering , transported aboard the "Asia" on 19th November 1827, settling in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1864 [10]
  • Mr. John Norris, (b. 1804), aged 29, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 27th April 1833, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Norris migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Norris Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Norris, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • Barbara Ann Norris, aged 20, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • Mr. George Norris, British settler as part of the 8th Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Oriental Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [12]
  • Mrs. Anne Norris, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Oriental Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [12]
  • Mr. James Norris, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Inchinnan" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 27th May 1852 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Norris (post 1700) +

  • Bessie Regina Norris (1953-2020), better known by her stage name Betty Wright,an American soul and R&B singer, songwriter and background vocalist, known for hits such as "Clean Up Woman" and "Tonight Is the Night"
  • William Wiley "Bill" Norris III (1936-2016), American jurist, Judge of the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit (1981-2002)
  • Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (b. 1940), American actor and Martial Artist, known for his countless movies, awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal and others for his services in the United States Air Force
  • Clarence Norris (1912-1989), African American teenage hobo, one of the Scottsboro Boys, accused of rape aboard a train, convicted and finally receiving a full posthumous pardon on November 21, 2013
  • Terry Wayne Norris (b. 1967), American retired boxer, three-time World Champion in the light middleweight division
  • David Stefan "Bud" Norris (b. 1985), American Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Houston Astros
  • Bruce Norris, American winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Benjamin Franklin Norris Jr. (1870-1902), American novelist
  • George William Norris (1861-1944), American politician, U.S. congressman and senator, who authored the 20th Amendment to the Constitution
  • Alexander Norris, American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates from Harford County, 1818-24, 1826 [14]
  • ... (Another 102 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Thomas F Norris (b. 1911), Scottish Stoker 2nd Class serving for the Royal Navy from Carlisle, Cumberland, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Herbert Norris, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [16]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. James Norris (d. 1912), aged 23, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [17]


The Norris Motto +

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


Suggested Readings for the name Norris +

  • 288 Descendants of Isaac Patten, Sr., and his Wife, Jane Norris: An Early Pioneer Family in Sullivan County, Indiana by Ernest C. Swanson, Norris, Hackett, Prescott and Allied Families Hugh Albert Johnson.

  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. ^ 'Townships: Scarisbrick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1907), pp. 265-276. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol3/pp265-276 [accessed 21 January 2017].
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 91)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1827
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 28) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  15. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  16. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  17. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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