Cucknay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Cucknay reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Cucknay family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cucknay family lived in Nottingham, at the manor of Silvan.

The patriarch of the line "Joceus le Flamangh," who came to England at the Conquest, held the third part of a knight's fee in Cukeney in Nottinghamshire, and two ploughlands of the King "by the service of shoeing the King's palfrey on all four feet, with the King's nails, as oft as he should lie at his manor of Mansfield; and if he lame the King's palfrey, or prick him, or shoe him too strait, he shall forfeit to the King a palfrey worth four marks." His grandson Thomas built a castle at Cukeney during the war between Stephen and the Empress Maud, " when," says Surtees, "almost every landed gentleman in England turned his house into a peel or castlelet : "and after the peace, in Henry II.'s time, founded Welbeck Abbey. His only child was a daughter : but his brother, Ralph le Silvan, of Woodhouse, carried on the line, and was the father of Osbert Silvan, Sheriff of Notts in 1140. "His descendants held the manor of Woodhouse, in the Forest of Sherwood, at least as late as 1330, but were more frequently styled of Thorp-Salvin,* a small parish on the extreme Southern border of Yorkshire. [1]

*"The Salvins must have been settled at Thorpe-Salvin soon after the Conquest, and as they appear to have been a family of distinction, it is probable that the ancestor might be one of the two knights of De Busli mentioned in the Domesday Survey of Laughton." [1]

Early Origins of the Cucknay family

The surname Cucknay was first found in Nottingham where the family name is descended from a Norman noble Joceus le Flemangh who accompanied William the Conqueror into England and was granted part of a knight's fee at Cuckney in that shire.

Sir Gerard Salveyn (d. 1320), was an English judge, son of Robert Salveyn of North Driffield, Yorkshire. "The family claimed descent from Joce le Flemangh, who came over with the Conqueror and settled at Cukeney, Nottinghamshire, and whose grandson Ralph obtained the surname Le Silvan from his manor of Woodhouse." [2]

From this latter place, the Cuckeney variant hails. Another source notes, "Sir Osbert Silvayne, Knight of Norton Woodhouse, in the Forest of Sherwood, living in the 29th of Henry III" [3] is also claimed to be the progenitor of the family. The latter reference acknowledges the incongruity by noting that "some of the name ... were seated at Norton before the year 1140." [3] So, we must leave the true progenitor in question.

Thorpe-Salvin in the West Riding of Yorkshire was home to a branch of the family. "This place is situated at the junction of the counties of York, Derby, and Nottingham. It was anciently the property of the Salvin family, and subsequently of the Sandfords." [4]

Early History of the Cucknay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cucknay research. Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1348 and 1716 are included under the topic Early Cucknay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cucknay Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Cucknay include Salvin, de Salvin, Salwin, Silvan, Silvayne, Salvayne, Salvyn, Cuckney, Cucknay, Cukney and many more.

Early Notables of the Cucknay family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cucknay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cucknay migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Cucknays to arrive on North American shores:

Cucknay Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Cucknay who settled in Virginia in 1639


The Cucknay 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: Je ne change qu'en mourant
Motto Translation: I only change in death.


  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. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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