Cavendar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cavendar is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cavendar family lived in Suffolk where Gernon de Montfichet was granted the lands of Cavendish by Duke William of Normandy. [1]

"The descent of the Cavendish family from Gernon has been disputed, but (as I intend to show) without reason. The Gernons were a branch of the Barons of Montfichet, Montfiquet, or Montfiket in Normandy, so named after their Scandinavian ancestor. The castle of Montfichet long remained, as well as the Church of St. Catherine in the castle, a foundation of this family. About 1050 Robert, surnamed Guernon (moustache), Baron of Montfichet, witnessed a charter of Duke William (Gall. Christ. xi. Instr. 229). He had issue, 1, William de Montfichet, who d. s. p., when the barony devolved on Wil­liam, the son of his brother; 2, Robert Guernon or Gernon, who held a great barony in Essex, &c., 1086. From his elder son William de Montfichet descended the Barons of that name, whose seats were at Stanstead Montfichet, Essex, and Montfichet Tower, London, of which city the Montfichets were hereditary standard-bearers or military chiefs in time of war. The younger branches retained the name of Gernon. Alured Gernon, brother of William de Montfichet, had estates in Essex and Middlesex 1130 (Rot. Pip.). Matthew, his son, 1135 witnessed a charter of William Montfichet (Mon. i. 803). Ralph, his son, 1165, held a fief from Montfichet in Essex, and was granted Bakewell, Derbyshire, by Richard I. (Testa de Neville). He had Ralph G., founder of Lees Priory, Essex, father of William G., who had two sons : l, Ralph, ancestor of a line of Gernon frequently mentioned in Essex, Suffolk, and Derby, and which long continued; 2, Geoffry. Geoffry, surnamed de Cavendish from his residence at Cavendish, Suffolk, appears in 1302 as bailsman with Walter de Cavendish, his son, for certain citizens of London who had been charged with the unlawful possession of some crown jewels." [2]

Early Origins of the Cavendar family

The surname Cavendar was first found in Suffolk, when Gernon de Montfichet was granted the lands of Cavendish by Duke William of Normandy, his liege lord, for distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. The Montfichets from Montfiquet, Calvados, in Normandy, sired the family of Cavendish, Bacon, Fitchet, and Montfitchet.

The family trace their lineage back to "Sir John Canvendish, who in the reign of Edward III was Chief Justice of the King's Bench. It was John, a younger son of the Judge, who killed Wat Tyler, and from him the family are descended." [3]

"Chief Justice Cavendish had a tragic end. He was beheaded in the market place of Bury, during an insurrection in 1382." [4]

Early History of the Cavendar family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cavendar research. Another 144 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1384, 1592, 1592, 1676, 1594, 1654, 1630, 1691, 1660, 1676, 1617, 1684, 1624, 1674, 1659, 1680, 1675, 1623, 1673, 1673, 1700, 1695, 1700 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Cavendar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cavendar 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 Cavendish, Cavendesh, Cavandish, Cavondish, Cavindish, Caviness and many more.

Early Notables of the Cavendar family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Thomas Cavendish (d. 1592), a British circumnavigator of the globe, often regarded as a privateer; Sir William Cavendish (1592-1676), 4th Duke of Norcastle, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a prominent soldier, writer, and noted patron of the arts; Sir Charles Cavendish (ca. 1594-1654), an English aristocrat, Member of Parliament, and patron of Philosophers and mathematicians; Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, KG, PC (1630-1691), English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660 to 1676; William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire (c.1617-1684), an English nobleman, Royalist supporter; Margaret Cavendish, (1624-1674), the...
Another 105 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cavendar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cavendar family to Ireland

Some of the Cavendar family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Cavendar migration to Australia +

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

Cavendar Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Cavendar, (b. 1809), aged 22, English convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for life, transported aboard the "Exmouth" on 3rd March 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]


The Cavendar Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Cavendo tutus
Motto Translation: Safe by being cautious.


  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th May 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/exmouth


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