Catchpole History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Catchpole family name dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. The name comes from when an early member worked as a medieval policeman, called a cacherel. The name comes from the weapon carried by the cacherel, called a catchpole, used to hold people around the head so as to subdue them. The cacherel was often colloquially referred to the weapon he carried. [1]

Early Origins of the Catchpole family

The surname Catchpole was first found in Dorset or Caterpole, Suffolk. [2]

Proving the longstanding occupation, the first record of the family was found in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Aluricus Chacepol. [3] Later, Hugo le Cachepol was registered in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1221. Robert Chacecapel was found in the Pipe Rolls for Devon in 1201. [4]

Another source explains in more detail; in that the name was derived from "a village as well as a town officer; an undersergeant who obtained his name from catching his victim by the head by means of a long wooden forceps that nipped by the throat the delinquent who was wanted. The name was borne by Margaret Catchpole, the horse-thief who was sentenced to be hanged at Ipswich, but was transported, in 1841 [to Australia]. We have the name also as Catchpool. In 'Piers Plowman's Vision' we are told, of the two thieves crucified on Calvary, 'A Catchpole came forth And cracked both their legges.' " [5] The weapon the catchpoll carried may still be seen in the Tower of London.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Geoffrey le Cachepol, Oxfordshire; and Ralph le Cachepol, Oxfordshire. [6]

Early History of the Catchpole family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Catchpole research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1587, 1627, 1647, 1561 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Catchpole History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Catchpole Spelling Variations

Catchpole has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Catchpole have been found, including Catchpole, Catchpolle, Cageypole, Cachpole, Cachpool and many more.

Early Notables of the Catchpole family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Catchpole Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Catchpole migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Catchpoles to arrive on North American shores:

Catchpole Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Judith Catchpole, who arrived in Maryland in 1655 [7]

Australia Catchpole migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Catchpole Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Catchpole, English convict from Norfolk, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [8]
  • Mr. John Catchpole, English convict who was convicted in Suffolk, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "China" on 44th January 1846, arriving in Norfolk Island, Australia [9]
  • James Catchpole, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon" [10]

New Zealand Catchpole migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Catchpole Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Georgia Catchpole, aged 24, a cook, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rangitikei" in 1884

Contemporary Notables of the name Catchpole (post 1700) +

  • Judith Catchpole, American maidservant who was tried for witchcraft and infanticide in 1656 in Maryland but was aquitted of all charges by all-female jury
  • Robert A. Catchpole (b. 1865), American Republican politician, Meat merchant; Mayor of Geneva, New York, 1922-23; Member of New York State Assembly from Ontario County, 1925-33 [11]
  • Judy Catchpole, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Wyoming, 2000 [11]
  • Fred Catchpole, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Colorado, 1924 [11]
  • Margaret Catchpole (1762-1819), British adventuress, chronicler and criminal sent to Australia, best known for her eyewitness accounts of the Hawkesbury River floods [12]
  • Kenneth William "Ken" Catchpole OAM (1939-2017), Australian rugby union footballer
  • Brent Catchpole, New Zealand politician


  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Baring-Gould S., Family Names and their Story. London: Seeley, Service & Co. Limited, 1913. Print
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Agincourt voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1844 with 226 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agincourt/1844
  9. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 5th February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/china)
  10. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) AMAZON 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/amazon1852.shtml
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 20) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 25 Nov. 2019


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