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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Clayborne surname lived in Cliburn, a small parish in the county of Westmorland (now part of Cumbria). The place name dates back to c. 1140 when it was listed as Clibbrun. Literally it means "stream by the cliff or bank," from the Old English words "clif" + "burna." [1]

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It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Clayborne are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Clayborne include: Clibborn, Cliborn, Cliburn, Cilborne, Cliburne, Clibborne, Clairborne, Claiborn, Claiborne, Clayborn, Clayborne, Claybourne, Claybourn, Clayburn, Clayburne, Cliburn, Cleburn, Cleborne, Cliburne, Cleburne and many more.

First found in Westmorland at Cliburn, a village and civil parish, in the West ward and union [2], now in the Eden District of Cumbria. "The parish is pleasantly situated between the rivers Eden and Lavennet, which bound it on two sides, and is intersected by the small river Lethe." [2] Cliburn Hall, is a three storey Pele tower built by Robert de Cliburn in 1387. Richard Cliburn made changes to the hall in 1567 and added a stone which reads "Richard Cleburn this they me called. In which my time hath built this Hall. A.D. 1567." St Cuthbert's Church dates back to the 12th century and was restored in the 19th century.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clayborne research. Another 165 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1364, 1475, 1660, 1600, 1677 and 1621 are included under the topic Early Clayborne History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clayborne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Clayborne family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 47 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Clayborne or a variant listed above:

Clayborne Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Clayborne, who landed in Virginia in 1621
  • Edward Clayborne settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Edward Clayborne, who arrived in Virginia in 1636

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  • Berkeley Clayborne (b. 2004), American child actress and model, known for her roles in Dhoom:3 (2013), To Survive (2014) and Wingmen Incorporated (2013)
  • Sarah Clayborne, born Beverly Jean Williams, nicknamed The Pie Lady, an American pie chef, restauranteur, and community activist in Memphis, Tennessee
  • James Clayborne Jr. (b. 1963), American politician, Illinois Senate Majority Leader (2009-), Member of the Illinois Senate (1995-)
  • James Clayborne, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 2008


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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: Virtus vincit invidiam
Motto Translation: Virtue overcometh envy.

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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  6. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  7. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  8. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Clayborne Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Clayborne Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 29 January 2016 at 09:13.

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