Canute History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Canute is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when a family lived at the knot, the summit of a rocky hill, from the residence near that place.

Early Origins of the Canute family

The surname Canute was first found in Derbyshire where traditionally the name was descended from the Scandinavian King Canute, or Cnut.

Drayton sings "The Knot that called was Canutus, bird of old, of that great King of Danes, his name that still doth hold, his appetite to please that far and near was sought, for his, as some have said, from Denmark hither brought."

Cnut or Canute the Great (994?-1035), and by Scandinavian writers the Mighty and the Old, was king of the English, Danes, and Norwegians, and was the younger son of Sweyn, king of Denmark. [1]

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide surname spellings in use at that time. Randulfus filius Cnut was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Devon in 1191; Knot pater Alani and Alanus filius Knod were both listed in the Assize Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1202; Radulfus filius Knut was found in the Pipe Rolls for Yorkshire in 1203; Walter and Robert Cnot were in the Pipe Rolls for Suffolk in 1165 and were later Knights Templar in 1185 ; William Cnotte was found in the Curia Regis Rolls for Bedfordshire in 1206; William, John Knotte in the Assize Rolls for Worcestershire in 1221; and Stephen le Knotte was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had two listings for the family: Richard Knotte, London; and Peter Cnotte, Salop (Shropshire) while the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had the following: Robertus Knotte; Ricardus Notte; Isabella Notte; and Thomas Knot. [3]

Up north in Scotland, "A ship of Knut the wealthy, citizen of Berwick, was carried off by Erlind, earl of Orkney, in 1156 (Orkneyinga Saga, Edinburgh, 1873, p. 161.) Hugo Cnot granted an annual-rent of two shillings to the Priory of Inchcolm, c. 1210-1229. The name also occurs in records of Coldingham Priory as Cnoyt. Richard Knut witnessed resignation of the lands of Langholm and Brakanwra, 1281. Adum Knout and John Knout were burgesses of Roxburgh, 1296, and rendered homage [to King Edward I of England] in that year. " [4]

Early History of the Canute family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Canute research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1730, 1582, 1656, 1626, 1629, 1632, 1633, 1606, 1681, 1621, 1622, 1641, 1708, 1729, 1763, 1777, 1811, 1724, 1763 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Canute History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Canute 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 Canute family name include Cnot, Cnotte, Canute, Cnut, Knot, Knout, Knotte, Knott and many more.

Early Notables of the Canute family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Knott of Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire. Edward Knott (1582-1656), born with the name of Matthew Wilson, was an English Jesuit controversialist, twice provincial of the Society of Jesus in England. He was born at Catchburn, a township in the parish of Morpeth, Northumberland. During 1626 he was a missioner in the Suffolk district. He was apprehended in 1629, and was committed to the Clink prison in Southwark, but at the instance of the queen he...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Canute Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Canute family to Ireland

Some of the Canute family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 148 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Canute 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. Early immigrants bearing the Canute surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Canute Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jose Canute, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1873 [5]


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. ^ 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)


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