Champnes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Champnes is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Champnes family lived in Yorkshire. They were originally from Champigne or Champagne, Normandy, and it is from the family's residence there that the name derives. [1]

"There is every reason to believe that the Norman De Champignys were represented by some of the numerous English families of Champneys. They belonged to a very ancient stock. Geoffrey de Champigne held a knight’s fee in the Bailifry of Pont-Audemer in 1165; and two De Champignys appear on the roll of the Norman nobles assembled in 1789." [2]

Early Origins of the Champnes family

The surname Champnes was first found in Somersetshire they claim descent from the Sieur de Champney in Normandy. From him the Chamneys of Orchardleuigh in Oxfordshire descend. [3]

"In Somerset, the family was seated for a long succession of generations, and inter-married with some of the greatest West country families. Two of the name-Henry and Thomas-are among the Somersetshire gentlemen certified (as qualified) to be Knights of the Bath in the time of Henry VII. This Henry Champneys, who succeeded his father in 1505, and married a Seymour heiress, is the first of the family styled of Orchardleigh, where his descendants were to be found for nearly three centuries and a half. Three of them served as Sheriffs of Somerset, in 1695, 1728, and 1775; and the last of these was created a Baronet in 1767." [2]

Other early entries for the family include: William le Champeneys who was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1219 and John Champenay in Freeman Rolls of Yorkshire in 1333. [4]

"In Shropshire the name, as Le Champeneys, is several times recorded by Eyton in the thirteenth century. Robert Champneys of Dorrington was the successor of Reginald de Dodinton, who held of Robert Fitz Hugh, Forester of Bolas, in the commencement of that century; and William Champneis of Wildesley is mentioned in 1253. " [2]

But by the 14th century, many of the family were found in Yorkshire as the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Johannes Chaumpenay, 1379; Johanna Chaumpenay, 1379; and Henricus Chaumpnay as all holding lands there at that time. [5]

Early History of the Champnes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Champnes research. Another 73 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1534, 1569, 1643, 1669 and 1548 are included under the topic Early Champnes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Champnes Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Champney, Chamnes, Chamness, Chamney, Champneys and many more.

Early Notables of the Champnes family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Anthony Champney (1569?-1643?), English Catholic divine, descended from a family of good account in Yorkshire, was born in that county in...
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Champnes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Champnes family to Ireland

Some of the Champnes family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


West Indies Champnes migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [6]
Champnes Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John and Jane Champnes, who settled in Barbados in 1654


The Champnes 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: Pro patria non timidus perire
Motto Translation: Not afraid to die for my country.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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