Cannings History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Cannings has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived in Hertfordshire where the name is derived from "canon, a member of an ecclesiastical order. There is a place called Canon, near Lisieux in Normandy." [1] The name may have also originated from the French, Canonne, a personal name. [2]

The Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae listed Galfridus and Radulfus Canonicus or Le Chanoin of Normandy, 1180-95 and about the same time the Pipe Rolls listed Gilbert and Robert Canonicus in England in 1189. [3]

Early Origins of the Cannings family

The surname Cannings was first found in Hertfordshire where "Cannon is an old name in this county, both at Nast Hyde in St. Peter's and at Clothall; there was a John Canon of Ware or Shenley in the time of Henry VI. In the 13th century the name occurred, usually in the form of Canon, in Oxfordshire, Hunts, Cambridgeshire, etc. " [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed John le Cannon, Oxfordshire and William le Canon as both holding lands that at that time. [5]

John Canon or Canonicus ( fl. 1329), was a schoolman who studied at Oxford, and became a member of the Franciscan order. "He is distinguished by the biographers for his eminence in philosophy, theology, and law, both canon and civil, and four books of commentaries on the 'Sentences' of Peter Lombard, some 'Lecturæ magistrales,' and 'Quæstiones disputatæ,' are ascribed to him. " [6]

William Canynges (1399?-1474), was a "merchant of Bristol, third son of John Canynges, burgess and merchant of that city, and Joan Wotton his wife, came of a family that stood high among the merchants of Bristol, for the elder William Canynges, his grandfather, a wealthy cloth manufacturer, was six times mayor, and thrice a representative of the city in parliament.' [6]

Early History of the Cannings family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cannings research. Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1456, 1827, 1862, 1663, 1722, 1663, 1697, 1707, 1708 and are included under the topic Early Cannings History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cannings Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Cannings have been found, including Canning, Cannings, Cannyng, Caning, Canings, Canyng and many more.

Early Notables of the Cannings family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Robert Cannon (1663-1722), Dean of Lincoln, born in London in 1663, educated at Eton and at King's College, Cambridge. "He held for a time a fellowship...
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cannings Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cannings family to Ireland

Some of the Cannings family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


West Indies Cannings migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [7]
Cannings Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Cannings, who settled in Barbados in 1680 with his wife, two children, and servants

Contemporary Notables of the name Cannings (post 1700) +

  • Victor Henry Douglas Cannings (1919-2016), English cricketer


The Cannings 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: Dum vigilio tutus
Motto Translation: While I watch I am safe.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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