Champernum History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Champernum originated in Cornwall, a region of southwest England that is celebrated in the Arthurian romances of the Middle Ages. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. As the population of Europe burgeoned, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Despite the fact that occupational surnames are rare among the Cornish People, they nevertheless sometimes adopted surnames derived from the type of work they did. The surname Champernum was an occupational name for a person in charge of the household of a nobleman. Interestingly, the name Champernum was originally derived from the title chamberlain, a word that originated as a name for the person in charge of a nobleman's sleeping quarters, and later came to encompass the role of running the household business.

Early Origins of the Champernum family

The surname Champernum was first found in Devon at Modbury, a market-town and parish, in the union of Kingsbridge, hundred of Ermington. "This place, called in Latin records Motberia, was in the possession of Wado in the time of the Confessor, and subsequently became the property of the Champernownes, of whom Richard Champernowne, in 1334, obtained permission to fortify his manorial residence here." [1]

Over in Cornwall, another branch of the family was found in the parish of St. Germans. "The Champernowne family retained the priory estate until the year 1565, when they conveyed it to Richard Eliot, Esq." [2]

Records from Halwyn House in St. Issey, Cornwall points an earlier Latin form of the name. "This place was the seat of the old family of De Campo Arnulphi, now Champernowne. Here they had a great and magnificent house, as appears by the ruins thereof, as also their chapel and burying-place, before the endowed church of St. Issey was erected. Halwyn, now frequently called Old Town, was acquired by the Champernownes about the time of Henry VI. in marriage with an heiress of Hamely; and in the Champernowne family it continued until the reign of Elizabeth, when it again passed into other families with female heirs." [2]

Early History of the Champernum family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Champernum research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1280 and 1300 are included under the topic Early Champernum History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Champernum Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and 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 of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Champernon, Champernoon, Champernown, Champernowne, Campernon, Campernoon, Campernown, Champernoun, Champernoune, Chambernon and many more.

Early Notables of the Champernum family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Champernum family

Early immigration records have shown some of the first Champernums to arrive on North American shores: Arthur Champernoone who settled in Maine in 1622; Francis Champernowne settled in Maine in 1630.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
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