Champniss History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Champniss is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Champniss 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 Champniss family

The surname Champniss 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 Champniss family

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

Champniss Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Champney, Chamnes, Chamness, Chamney, Champneys and many more.

Early Notables of the Champniss 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 Champniss Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Champniss family to Ireland

Some of the Champniss 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.

Migration of the Champniss family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Champniss or a variant listed above were: Edward Champneys who settled in New Jersey in 1675 with his wife Priscilla, son and daughter; James Champness settled in Baltimore in 1774; John and Jane Champnes settled in Barbados in 1654..


Contemporary Notables of the name Champniss (post 1700) +

  • Laurence John Champniss (b. 1939), former English cricketer
  • Kim Clarke Champniss, Canadian television personality and musician


The Champniss 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)


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