Churchhill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Churchhill is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Churchhill family lived in Somerset in the town of Curcelle. The name Curcelle is of Norman origin, but once in England became confused with name Churchill, which derives from the Old English cyrice, which means church, and hyll, which means hill. The histories of the two names are now inextricably linked.

"The Churchills of Dorset, ancestors of the great Duke of Marlborough, are traceable, by the ordinary heralds' pedigrees, to the reign of Henry VII., bearing a lion rampant, debruised by a bendlet. Prior to this, they were of Devon and Somerset, still bearing the same arms. The Churchills of Devon descended from Elias de Chirchille, temp. Edward I. who married the heiress of Widworthy." [1]

Early Origins of the Churchhill family

The surname Churchhill was first found in Somerset where one of the first records of the name was Richard de Churchulle who was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. During King Edward III's reign (1327-1377), Nicolas de Churchhull was also listed as holding lands there. [2]

Another source claims "the distinguished Dorset family of Churchill, whence sprang the Duke of Marlborough, resided at Mintern in the 16th and 17th centuries." [3] And another claims "Roger de Corcelles [was] a great Domesday tenant in the western counties, the ancestor of the Dukes of Marlborough. Churchill has, however, a sufficiently English aspect, and as we find four parishes in different counties so called, we need hardly seek for a Norman origin." [4]

This latter quote needs some explanation. The author (Mark Anthony Lower) argues that while yet another source claims the name to be Norman in origin, he feels that the name is presumably Anglo-Saxon in origin. To us, the lion's share of sources claim that the family is of Norman origin and we agree.

Early History of the Churchhill family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Churchhill research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1086, 1620, 1688, 1622, 1682, 1661, 1679, 1656, 1714, 1650, 1722, 1686 and 1703 are included under the topic Early Churchhill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Churchhill Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Churchill, Churchell and others.

Early Notables of the Churchhill family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Winston Churchill FRS (1620-1688), known as the Cavalier Colonel, an English soldier, historian, and politician, ancestor of his 20th-century namesake, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill; John Churchill (1622-1682), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Dorchester...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Churchhill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Churchhill family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Churchhill or a variant listed above: Josiah Churchill settled in Wethersfield Connecticut in 1638; Samuel settled in New England in 1654; Roger settled in Virginia in 1663; Sarah arrived in Boston Massachusetts with two children in 1765.

The Churchhill 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: Fiel pero disdichado
Motto Translation: Faithful though unfortunate.

  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. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print. on Facebook
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