Show ContentsCombe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Combe name come from when the Anglo-Saxon tribes ruled over Britain. The name Combe was originally derived from a family having lived in a small valley; the surname Combe is often derived from the Old English word cumb, which means valley. In this case, it belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. Alternately, the surname Combe may be derived from residence in one of the many places called Comb, Combe, or Coombe. In this case, it belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Combe family

The surname Combe was first found in Devon where Richard de la Coombe held estates in that county in the year 1194. The name also found in the Feet of Fines of Somerset in 1269 where the entry Alan in la Cumbe was found. Robert atte Cumbe was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296, and Thomas de Combe was listed in the Assize Rolls of Kent in the year 1317. John atte Combe was also listed in the same source. [1] Today Combs is a small village in Derbyshire and a parish, in the union and hundred of Stow, Suffolk. [2]

An early record of the family was found in Somerset: John in le Coumbe, l Edward III (in the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [3] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: Gilbert ate Cumbe, Oxfordshire; John ate Cumbe, Oxfordshire; Roger de la Cumbe, Oxfordshire; and Henry de la Cumbe, Somerset. [4]

Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Robertas Combe; and Radulphus de Combe; while in Norfolk, Edmund de la Comb was listed there 16 Edward I. [5]

Early History of the Combe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Combe research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1460, 1522, 1573, 1651, 1586, 1667, 1616, 1640 and 1786 are included under the topic Early Combe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Combe Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Combe include Coombe, Combs, Coombs, Comes, Combes, Combe, Coombes, Cumbe, Coumbes, Coames, Coambes, Cumbes, Cumes, Cummes, Cume, Coomes, Coames, Cooms, Coumes, Coume, Cooms, Coom, Coomb, Comb and many more.

Early Notables of the Combe family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Combe (1586-1667), an English High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1616 and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1640. William Francis Coombe was the son of a singing-master at Plymouth, was born there in 1786. At fourteen years of...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Combe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Combe Ranking

In France, the name Combe is the 483rd most popular surname with an estimated 9,267 people with that name. [6]

United States Combe migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Combe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hannah Combe, who settled in Virginia in 1654-1663
  • John Combe, who settled in Virginia in 1654-1663
  • Richard Combe, who arrived in Hempstead, NY in 1690 [7]
Combe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Combe, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1710 [7]
Combe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Lewis Combe, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1802 [7]
  • A Combe, aged 45, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1823 [7]
  • Michel Combe, who landed in New York in 1825 [7]
  • Mr. William Combe, (b. 1805), aged 37, Cornish miner departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Triton" arriving in the United States on 11 May 1842 [8]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Combe, (b. 1813), aged 29, Cornish settler departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Triton" arriving in the United States on 11 May 1842 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Combe migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Combe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Combe, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Success" in 1848 [9]
  • Harry Combe, aged 21, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "David Malcolm" [10]
  • George Henry Combe, aged 17, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "General Hewett"
  • Caroline Combe, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "General Hewett"

West Indies Combe 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. [11]
Combe Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Margery Combe, who settled in Barbados in 1654-1663
  • William Combe, who settled in Barbados in 1685

Contemporary Notables of the name Combe (post 1700) +

  • William Combe (1741-1823), English writer and adventurer, author of 'Doctor Syntax,' born at Bristol in 1741 [12]
  • Thomas Combe (1797-1872), English director of the Clarendon Press, son of a bookseller in Leicester [12]
  • Charles Combe (1743-1817), English physician and numismatist, born on 23 Sept. 1743, in Southampton Street, Bloomsbury, where his father, John Combe, carried on business as an apothecary [12]
  • George Combe (1788-1858), Scottish phrenologist, born in Edinburgh on 21 Oct. 1788, one of the seventeen children of George Comb, a brewer, by his wife, Marion Newton, brother to Andrew Combe [12]
  • Andrew Combe (1797-1847), Scottish physiologist and phrenologist, the fifteenth child and seventh son of an Edinburgh brewer, born in Edinburgh on 27 Oct. 1797 [12]
  • Mr. Stephen Dennis Combe M.B.E., British Director for Corporate Governance and Board Secretary for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Governance in NHS Wales [13]
  • Gordon Desmond Combe, Australian Parliamentary Officer for South Australia
  • Gordon Combe, Australian Parliamentary Officer
  • Lieutenant Robert Grierson Combe (d. 1917), Canadian soldier awarded the Victoria Cross for actions during WW I [14]

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  7. 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)
  8. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SUCCESS 1848. Retrieved from
  10. South Australian Register Tuesday 1st May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) David Malcolm 1855. Retrieved
  12. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020
  13. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
  14. The Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM). (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Robert Combe. Retrieved from on Facebook