Home   |   Customer Service   |   Site Map   |   Name Search   |   How To Buy

Shopping Cart
0 Items
FREE SHIPPING on orders of $85 or more
An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Where did the English Courtenay family come from? What is the English Courtenay family crest and coat of arms? When did the Courtenay family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Courtenay family history?

The name Courtenay was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Courtenay family lived in Devon. The name, however, is a reference one of two areas bearing the name Courtenay in Normandy. The names of both of these areas derive from the Gallo-Roman landlord, Curtenus.


Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Courtenay, Courtney, Courtnay, Courteney, Courtny and many more.

First found in the Gātinais province of France, where they held the castle of Courtenay since the 10th century. They claim descent from the Counts of Sens and from Pharamond, reputed founder of the French monarchy in 420. However, historians have only been able to prove the line back to about the year 1020, in the Isles of France where they were descended from the great Emperor Charlemagne. The name was established by this trace only to the year 790. Regardless of the earliest origin, in the mid-12th century, a branch of the family settled in England, where they obtained the barony of Okehampton and inherited the title of Earls of Devon in 1293. "This illustrious house is descended from Reginald de Courtney, who came over to England with Henry II AD 1151." [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Courtenay research. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1125, 1194, 1303, 1377, 1346, 1405, 1377, 1399, 1367, 1378, 1355, 1406, 1556, 1527, 1556, 1415, 1377, 1413, 1413, 1411, 1415, 1415 and are included under the topic Early Courtenay History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 665 words (48 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Courtenay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Courtenay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Courtenay or a variant listed above:

Courtenay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Hercules and Francis Courtenay settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1769 and 1771 respectively

Courtenay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John Courtenay settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1819
  • John Courtenay, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1819

Courtenay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Courtenay arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1848


  • Charles Christopher Courtenay (1916-1998), 17th Earl of Devon, English peer
  • Henry Reginald Courtenay (1714-1763), English politician, Member of the Parliament for Honiton (1741-1747) and (1754-1763)
  • The Rt Rev Reginald Reginald Courtenay DD (1813-1906), English Anglican Bishop of Jamaica (1872-1879)
  • Sir William Courtenay (1794-1838), English political and religious maniac
  • Hugh Rupert Courtenay D.L. (1942-2015), 18th Earl of Devon, a British peer
  • John Courtenay (1738-1816), British politician for Tamworth and Appleby
  • Edward Emmett Courtenay (b. 1968), Canadian former professional ice hockey right winger and head coach
  • Jasmine Courtenay, Australian footballer who has played for the Newcastle Jets since 2012
  • Bryce Courtenay AM (1933-2012), South African-born, Australian novelist, best known for his book The Power of One (1989)
  • Sir Thomas Daniel "Tom" Courtenay (b. 1937), English Academy Award nominated, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award winning actor, known for his roles in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Billy Liar (1963), and Dr. Zhivago (1965)


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: Quod verum tutum
Motto Translation: What is true is safe.


Most Popular Family Crest Products
Courtenay Armorial History With Coat of ArmsCourtenay Armorial History With Coat of Arms
Courtenay Coat of Arms & Surname History PackageCourtenay Coat of Arms & Surname History Package
Courtenay Family Crest Image (jpg) Heritage SeriesCourtenay Family Crest Image (jpg) Heritage Series
Courtenay Coat of Arms/Family Crest Key-chainCourtenay Coat of Arms/Family Crest Key-chain
Courtenay Coat of Arms/Family Crest Coffee MugCourtenay Coat of Arms/Family Crest Coffee Mug
Courtenay Armorial History with FrameCourtenay Armorial History with Frame
Courtenay Framed Surname History and Coat of ArmsCourtenay Framed Surname History and Coat of Arms



  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.

Other References

  1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  4. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  10. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  11. ...

The Courtenay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Courtenay 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 2 December 2015 at 15:55.

Sign Up

FREE SHIPPING on orders of $85 or more