Cheney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The family name Cheney is believed to be descended originally from the Norman people. The Normans were commonly believed to be of French origin but were, more accurately, of Viking origin. The Vikings landed in the Orkneys and Northern Scotland about the year 870 AD, under their King, Stirgud the Stout. Later, under their Jarl, Thorfinn Rollo, they invaded France about 911 AD. The French King, Charles the Simple, after Rollo laid siege to Paris, finally conceded defeat and granted northern France to Rollo. Rollo became the first Duke of Normandy. Duke William, who invaded and defeated England in 1066, descended from the first Duke Rollo of Normandy.

The family originated in "Quesnay (Chesnay), near Coutances, from which came De Chesneto or Kaineto in England." [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Cheney family

The surname Cheney was first found in Buckinghamshire, where William de Chesney (died 1161), an Anglo-Norman magnate during the reign of King Stephen of England was one of the first listed. He held Oxford Castle during King Stephen's reign. Robert de Chesney (died 1166), brother of William de Chesney was a medieval English Bishop of Lincoln. He was an early patron of Thomas Becket, and present during the coronation of King Henry II of England in 1154. He also served King Henry as a royal justice. [3]

William de Chesney (died 1174), another brother, was a medieval Anglo-Norman nobleman and Sheriff of Norfolk (c. 1146-1153), Suffolk (c. 1146-1153) and (1156-1163). He also founded Sibton Abbey.

"Cheney or Cheyney is an ancient name in the east of England, but it is not of frequent occurrence now. In the 13th century it was established in most of the eastern counties in the forms of De Cheney, De Chenee, Le Cheny, etc., in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hunts, Norfolk, Bedfordshire." [4]

"The manor called Bodannan or Bodannon, situated in [the parish of Endellion, Cornwall], was formerly the seat of an ancient family called Chenduit, generally denominated Cheyney. Sir John Chenduit, who represented this county in the reigns of Henry IV. and V. was speaker of the house of commons in the former reign. His son William left two co-heiresses, who married into the families of Trejago and Roscarrock. This manor fell to the share of the latter, and was sold in 1586, by John Roscarrock, Esq. to Nicholas Dagge, yeoman, who in 1597 conveyed it to Henry Rolle, Esq." [5]

The same source notes that "Strickstenton, which was formerly a parcel of the manor of Bodannan, on which the family of Chenduit are said to have had their seat, belonged to Mathews in 1620. The north aisle is the burial place of the Roscarrocks; and an ancient, though uninscribed tomb in the chancel, is by tradition said to be that of Lord Cheyney; but in support of this opinion no real evidence appears." [5]

In Scotland, Henry Cheyne or Le Chen (d. 1328), was Bishop of Aberdeen and the nephew of John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, killed by Robert Bruce in 1306, and the brother of Sir Reginald le Chen, Baron of Inverugie, and Great Chamberlain of Scotland. [3]

Early History of the Cheney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cheney research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1320, 1414, 1399, 1372, 1378, 1390, 1393, 1394, 1399, 1407, 1413, 1442, 1499, 1485, 1558, 1536, 1540, 1587, 1625, 1698, 1660, 1657, 1728, 1671 and 1743 are included under the topic Early Cheney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cheney Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Cheyney, Chainey, Chainie, Cheeney, Cheeny, Cheney, Cheyne and many more.

Early Notables of the Cheney family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Sir John Cheyne (Cheney) (died 1414), a Member of Parliament and briefly the initial Speaker of the House of Commons of England in the Parliament of October 1399, summoned by the newly-acclaimed Henry IV, married Margaret, daughter of William, Lord Deincourt and the widow of Robert, Lord Tiptoft which brought him wealth and status (1372), became an esquire in the king's household and was knighted in 1378, took part in a number of diplomatic missions and became MP for Gloucestershire in 1390, 1393, 1394 and 1399, last occasion he was elected Speaker, but...
Another 205 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cheney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cheney family to Ireland

Some of the Cheney family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cheney migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cheney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Cheney, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1635 [6]
  • John Cheney who settled in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1636
  • John Cheney, who settled in Watertown in 1636
  • John Cheney, who arrived in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1637 [6]
Cheney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Cheney, aged 20, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]

Canada Cheney migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cheney Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jacob Cheney, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
Cheney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Frederick Cheney, who landed in Canada in 1834

Contemporary Notables of the name Cheney (post 1700) +

  • Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney (b. 1941), American politician and businessman, 46th Vice President of the United States and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Laurance Russell "Larry" Cheney (1886-1969), American Major League Baseball starting pitcher who played from 1911 through 1919
  • Dorothy “Dodo” Bundy Cheney (b. 1916), American tennis player, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004
  • Lynne Ann Cheney (b. 1941), American novelist and scholar, wife of former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, the Second Lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009
  • Thomas Edgar Cheney (1934-2001), American Major League Baseball player who played from 1957 to 1966
  • Dorothy Cheney (b. 1916), American tennis player
  • Benjamin Pierce Cheney (1815-1895), American businessman and a founder of the firm that became American Express
  • Christopher John "Chris" Cheney (b. 1975), Australian rock musician, record producer and studio owner
  • Christopher Cheney, Professor of Mediaeval History
  • Person C Cheney, United States Senator, Governor of New Hampshire


The Cheney 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: Fato prudentia major
Motto Translation: Prudence is greater than fate.


Suggested Readings for the name Cheney +

  • 2489 "The Cheney Genealogy" by Charles Henry Pope, "George Cheney (1771-1829) of Manchester, Connecticut" by Edward H. Little.

  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. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  6. ^ 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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