Convert History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Convert is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Convert family lived in Coisgnières, Normandy, "as the name was spelt in Normandy; one of the noblest families in the North of England." [1]

Early Origins of the Convert family

The surname Convert was first found in Durham at Sockburn, where the then Bishop of Durham, Ralph Flambard, granted lands to Roger de Conyers sometime between 1099 and 1133.

"Roger Conyers was by William the Conqueror made Constable of Durham Castle and Keeper of all the arms of ye souldiers within the Castle, was after past to him ye saide Roger by deede to him and his heires mailes for ever, under the great scale of William de Santo Carilepho, Bishop of Durham." [1]

A second Roger succeeded to his father, and to him followed a third to whom "Henricus II. Rex. Anghse dedit vel confirmavit Constabulatum de Dunelme."

"I know, of no actual proof to establish this transmission ; but there is sufficient evidence from charters in the Treasury to prove that the Norman family of Conyers, Lords of Bishopton (and possibly from the same early date owners of Sockburn), held the rank of nobles or Barons of the Bishopric at least from the reign of Henry I. Bishop Ralph Flambard gave Rungetun in Yorkshire to Roger Conyers before 1126. His son was that Roger Conyers whose important services to Bishop William de St. Barbara are on record in Simeon. The story runs thus: Conyers afforded the Bishop a safe retreat in his strength or Peel-house of Bishopton; and he afterwards had the address to bring the Scotch intruder Comyn a humble, kneeling penitent before the Episcopal throne. To bring about this most wished conclusion implies as much courage, and certainly more address, than if the Constable had finished the contest in the usual manner with the bloody hand. The Constable's staff, and the Wardenship of Durham Castle, which he had recovered from Comyn, seems a most appropriate reward; and if the green acres of Sockburn were added to the gift, he was still not overpaid." [2]

Many of the family were found at East and West Newbiggin. "This place formerly belonged to the Conyers family, with whom it continued until the beginning of the 17th century, when Sir George Conyers, Knt., and his son, alienated the manor in various parcels to their tenants. " [3] Hutton-Conyers in the wapentake of Allertonshire in the North Riding of Yorkshire is another ancient family seat. "This place was anciently the residence of a branch of the Conyers family, whose Hall appears to have been on the north side of the village, in a field still called the Hallgarth." [3]

Early History of the Convert family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Convert research. Another 379 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1195, 1313, 1324, 1507, 1628, 1628, 1731, 1810, 1587, 1663, 1630, 1619, 1684, 1660, 1685, 1758, 1650, 1725, 1695, 1666, 1728, 1633 and 1694 are included under the topic Early Convert History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Convert 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 Conyers, Coniers, Coigniers, Convers, Converse and many more.

Early Notables of the Convert family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Conyers of Horden; Deacon Edward Convers (1587-1663) born in Navestock, England, he arrived in Salem, Massachusetts with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, and quickly became one of the founders of Woburn, Massachusetts; Tristram Conyers (1619-1684), an English lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Maldon...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Convert Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Convert family to Ireland

Some of the Convert 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 Convert 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 Convert or a variant listed above: Eleanor Conyers who settled in Maryland in 1733; Mary Conyers settled in New England in 1718; Moses Conyers settled in Virginia in 1623.



  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Surtees, Robert, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham. London: J. Nichols and Son, 25 Parliament Street, 1820. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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