Canterbury History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Early Origins of the Canterbury family
The surname Canterbury was first found in Kent where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book,  indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Canterbury, Ralph de Canterbury who held 4 houses previously held by King Harold's concubine, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.
Early History of the Canterbury family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Canterbury research. Another 54 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Canterbury History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Canterbury Spelling Variations
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Canterbury, Canterberry, Canterberrie, Canterbery and many more.
Early Notables of the Canterbury family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Canterbury Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Canterbury migration to the United States +
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Canterbury or a variant listed above:
Canterbury Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Cornelius Canterbury, who landed in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1653 
Contemporary Notables of the name Canterbury (post 1700) +
- Seth Canterbury, American actor, known for his work on What Happened to Haley Spencer? (2014), The New Confederacy of North Carolina (2012) and An Empty State (2015)
- Colby Canterbury (b. 1997), American child actor, known for his work in Calm (2005), The Preacher's Daughter (2013) and Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach (2009)
- Chandler Canterbury, American Young Artist Award winning actor, known for his work in Knowing (2009), A Bag of Hammers (2011) and Standing Up (2013)
Related Stories +
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ 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)