Chamberlayne History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Chamberlayne family brought their name to England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Chamberlayne is for a person who worked as a chamberlain. A chamberlain was one who was in charge of the private chambers of a noble, and later was a high ranking title having derived from the Anglo-Norman French word, chamberlanc. [1]

"Chamberlain occurs most commonly in Leicestershire and Rutlandshire." [2] "There are several distinct families bearing the surname. Aiulfus Camerarius (the latinized form) was a tenant in chief in co. Dorset, and probably the Conqueror's own chamberlain. One of his possessions in that county is still called Hampreston-Chamberlaine. [3]

The Chamberlaynes of Maugersbury claim from John, count of Tancarville, whose descendants were hereditary chamberlains to kings Henry I., Stephen, and Henry II. The office of the camerarius was to take charge of the king's camera or treasury, and answered to the treasurer of the household at present. Besides Aiulfus above mentioned, at least five other tenants in capite so designated occur in Domesday. " [4]

Early Origins of the Chamberlayne family

The surname Chamberlayne was first found in Oxfordshire where they claim descent from John, Count de Tankerville, of Tankerville Castle in Normandy who accompanied Duke William on his Conquest of England only to return after the battle of Hastings to his hereditary estates. He left a son in England who became chamberlain to Henry I., and whose son, Richard assumed the surname of Chamberlain from his office. [5]

"The office of royal chamberlain was one of great responsibility in virtue of the fact that until the reign of James I he managed the king's revenue and was head of the Exchequer. The great nobles, also, had each a chamberlain who looked after his lord's business affairs. John Camerarius witnessed a confirmation charter by William the Lion, c. 1175. Walter Camerarius witnessed a charter by Es China, wife of Walter Fitz Alan, before 1177" [1]

The principal line of the descendants were the Chamberlaynes of Sherborne in Oxfordshire. The hamlet of Stoney Thorpe in Warwickshire was home to a branch of the family. "The family of Chamberlayne, formerly of Princethorpe, in the county, has been seated here for many centuries; Henry Thomas Chamberlayne, Esq., is the present owner." [6]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 proved the wide usage of the surname with variopus spellings throughout ancient Britain: Walter le Chamberlayn, Lincolnshire; Martin le Chaumberleyn, Cambridgeshire; Ivo le Chaumberleyn, Warwickshire; and Henry le Chamberlein, Buckinghamshire. [7]

Early History of the Chamberlayne family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chamberlayne research. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1616, 1703, 1619, 1689, 1560, 1631, 1572, 1626, 1540, 1596, 1576, 1813, 1632, 1715, 1632, 1720, 1667, 1691, 1690, 1625, 1643, 1643, 1635 and 1682 are included under the topic Early Chamberlayne History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chamberlayne Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Chamberlain, Chamberlayne, Chamberlaine, Chamblayn, Chamberlin, Camberlain, Camberlan, Camblayn and many more.

Early Notables of the Chamberlayne family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Edward Chamberlayne (1616-1703), an English writer, best known as the author of The Present State of England; William Chamberlayne (1619-1689), an English poet and physician. Pierre (Peter) Chamberlen the Elder (1560-1631), and Peter the Younger (1572-1626), two brothers and sons of Guillaume (William) Chamberlen (c.1540-1596), a Huguenot surgeon who fled from Paris to England in 1576, famous for inventing the modern use of obstetrical forceps, a family secret kept for two centuries - the original forceps were found in 1813 under a trap door in Woodham Mortimer Hall. Nicholas Chamberlaine (1632-1715), was an English priest...
Another 143 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Chamberlayne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Chamberlayne family to Ireland

Some of the Chamberlayne family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Chamberlayne migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Chamberlayne or a variant listed above:

Chamberlayne Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Chamberlayne, who arrived in Maryland in 1673 [8]
  • Thomas Chamberlayne, who landed in Virginia in 1675 [8]

New Zealand Chamberlayne 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:

Chamberlayne Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Chamberlayne, aged 27, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ballochmyle" in 1874
  • Clara Chamberlayne, aged 22, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ballochmyle" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Chamberlayne (post 1700) +

  • William Chamberlayne, English owner of a large estate at Weston, Southampton in the 1800s; his family traces back to the 15th century in that area
  • Thomas Chamberlayne (1805-1876), English cricketer, yachtsman and politician, High Sheriff of Hampshire in 1833; his yacht the Arrow, took part in the inaugural America's Cup race in 1851
  • Tankerville Chamberlayne (1843-1924), English landowner in Hampshire and politician, Member of Parliament for Southampton


The Chamberlayne 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: Prodesse quam conspici
Motto Translation: To do good rather than be conspicuous.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. 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. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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)


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