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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The name Thorpe is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in the area referred to as the thorp which is the Old English word for village, farmstead or hamlet. [1] The surname Thorpe is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel. In this case the place-name Thorpe was found in various locations in England.


The surname Thorpe was first found in Yorkshire, Surrey, Essex, Lincolnshire, Durham and other locations throughout Britain. The Domesday Book of 1086 lists six locations in Britain all having the spelling Torp. [2] "The Thorps of Ryton, county Durham, as said to be descended from Robert Thorpe, of Thorpe, near Wellwyke, in Holderness, who flourished in the reign of King John. " [3] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1237 lists: Adam de la Throppe in Wiltshire; Augustinus de Thorpe in Suffolk; and Warin de Thorpe in Cambridgeshire. [4] The Pipe Rolls of Northumberland list William de Torp in 1158 and the Assize Rolls of Cheshire in 1287 list Robert be Thorp. The Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland (Cumbria) list Jak de Thorp in 1332. [5] Another branch of the family was found at Thorpe in Surrey in later years. "The manor appears to have been held under the abbots of Chertsey in the 15th century, by a family named Thorpe: after the Dissolution, Queen Elizabeth granted the lands to Sir John Wolley, her Latin secretary." [6]

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Thorpe has been spelled many different ways, including Thorp, Thorpe, Thropp, Thrupp and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thorpe research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1361, 1346, 1350, 1565, 1655, 1407 and 1569 are included under the topic Early Thorpe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 129 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thorpe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Thorpes to arrive in North America:

Thorpe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • George Thorpe (1576-1622), English emigrant from Wanswell Court in Gloucestershire to Virginia in March 1620 and rose to become a noted landowner, member of parliament, distiller, educator
  • Christian Thorpe settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Christ Thorpe, who landed in Virginia in 1637
  • James Thorpe settled in Barbados in 1639 with his servants
  • Daniell Thorpe, who arrived in Virginia in 1643

Thorpe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Catherine Thorpe, who arrived in Virginia in 1714

Thorpe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Levi Thorpe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1858
  • Joseph Thorpe, aged 6, landed in New York in 1862
  • Jane Thorpe, aged 4, landed in New York in 1862
  • Elizth Thorpe, aged 45, landed in New York in 1862
  • Emma Thorpe, who arrived in New York in 1862

Thorpe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Thorpe was a settler at St. John's, Newfoundland in 1814

Thorpe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • George Thorpe, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • John Thorpe arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Rapid" in 1836
  • Thomas Thorpe a joiner, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1837
  • Robert Walter Thorpe a blacksmith, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1837
  • Margaret Sarah Thorpe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1837

Thorpe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Charles Thorpe landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1840
  • Joshua Thorpe landed in Thames, Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James A. Thorpe arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of the Avon" in 1859
  • Robert Thorpe arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Viscount Sandon" in 1860
  • John R. Thorpe arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Viscount Sandon" in 1860


  • George Cyrus Thorpe (1875-1936), United States Marine Corps officer during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War
  • Rollo Smolt "Richard" Thorpe (1896-1991), American film director
  • Richard Jerome "Jerry" Thorpe (b. 1926), American Emmy Award winning television film director and producer, son of Richard Thorpe
  • James Francis Thorpe (1888-1953), American all round athlete of Native American and European ancestry, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame, two-time Olympic champion
  • Chris Thorpe (b. 1970), American luge Olympic athlete
  • George Thorpe (b. 1910), English professional footballer who played for Huddersfield Town (1931-1932)
  • George Thorpe (1834-1899), English first-class cricketer, who played two first-class matches, one for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and another for the All England XI in 1862
  • George Thorpe (1781-1847), English cricketer who played for Nottingham Cricket Club in 1826
  • William Richard "Billy" Thorpe AM (1946-2007), English-born Australian pop / rock singer-songwriter and producer, musician, lead singer for Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs
  • John Jeremy Thorpe (1929-2014), English Liberal politician, Leader of the Liberal Party (1967-1976), Member of Parliament for North Devon (1959-1979)



  • Genealogy of Some Early Families in Grant and Pleasant Districts, Preston County, West Virginia, also the Thorpe Family of Fayette County, Pennsylvania by Edward Thorp King.
  • Facts & Anecdotes of Turnersville, Texas by Laura A. Tharp.
  • Sifting Through the Ashes for the Althorp, Allentharpe, Tharp, Tharpe Family and Connections by Eleanor Davis McSwain.

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: Super antiquas vias
Motto Translation: Upon the ancient tracks.


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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. 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. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  9. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  10. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The Thorpe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Thorpe 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 25 February 2016 at 11:46.

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