Causlay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Causlay is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in the Pays de Caux (Seine-Infèrieure) in Normandy. However, the surname Causlay may have also been applied to someone who lived near a causeway, which was a raised roadway crossing wet or low-lying ground. In this latter case, the surname Causlay is derived from the Old English word cauce, meaning causeway. [1]

Causlay is a classic example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.

Early Origins of the Causlay family

The surname Causlay was first found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 where John de Chausy, Gloucestershire was listed. Following this early listing further, we found Robert Causeys, Causay was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex 1327, 1332; Robert de Calceto listed in the Assize Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1202; and Henry atte Cause listed in the Somerset Rolls for 1356. [2]

The variant "Cossey is an old Norwich name. In 1472, Henry Cossey, who was afterwards rector of Wilby, was a noted friar of the Dominican convent in Norwich; and there were then others of the name in that city. About the same time John Cossey was rector of Cougbam." [3]

The Causey variant seems unique to Devon and Cornwall. [4] More specifically, Trusham was the ancestral home of the Causley family, whose descendants include the poet Charles Causley and the folk singer Jim Causley.

Today Trusham is "a parish, in the union of NewtonAbbott, hundred of Exminster, Teignbridge and S. divisions of Devon." [5] But turning back the pages of time, we found that Trusham goes at least as far back as the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was known as Trisma [6] and originally meant "place overgrown with brushwood." [7]

Early History of the Causlay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Causlay research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Causlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Causlay Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Causlay are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Causlay include: Causey, Causley, Cause, Causy and others.

Early Notables of the Causlay family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Causlay family

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Causlay or a variant listed above: Nathanial Causey who settled in Virginia in 1623; with his wife; John Cause settled in Musquette Shore in 1774; Caspar Cause who arrived in Philadelphia in 1797..



  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  7. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)


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