Cukenay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cukenay is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cukenay 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 Cukenay family

The surname Cukenay 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 Cukenay family

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

Cukenay Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Cukenay are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Cukenay include Salvin, de Salvin, Salwin, Silvan, Silvayne, Salvayne, Salvyn, Cuckney, Cucknay, Cukney and many more.

Early Notables of the Cukenay family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Cukenay family

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Cukenay, or a variant listed above: George Salvin who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1846; Henry Cucknay who settled in Virginia in 1639.



The Cukenay 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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