Cannsew History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Cannsew family

The surname Cannsew was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Philley.

"Bokelly, [in the parish of St. Kew, Cornwall] an ancient seat of the Carnsews, which Leland calls 'a praty house with fair ground and praty wood about it,' was sold by that family to the Tregagles about the time of the civil war." [1]

However, one source claims a very different origin of the name. "The original name of this family was Thoms. They took the name of Carnsew from Carnsew in the parish of Mabe, from carn-sew, zew, the black rock. Kearnzew would seem to be a variation of the name." [2]

Early History of the Cannsew family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cannsew research. Another 144 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1079, 1142, 1149, 1162, 1497, 1570, 1547 and 1881 are included under the topic Early Cannsew History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cannsew Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Carnesew, Carnesow, Carnsew, Carnso, Carnsoe, Cannso, Cannsoe, Cansew, Cannsew, Carnshaw and many more.

Early Notables of the Cannsew family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was William Carnsew (by 1497-1570), of Bokelly in St. Kew, Cornwall, an English politician. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Bossiney in 1547...
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cannsew Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Cannsew family

The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Cannsew: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..



  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.


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