Cunliffe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Cunliffe date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Cunliffe family lived in the settlement of Concliff in the county of Lancashire. The surname Cunliffe belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The name in Anglo Saxon meant "War love."

Early Origins of the Cunliffe family

The surname Cunliffe was first found in Lancashire where Nicholas le Cumbecliue was first listed in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire in 1246. The name traces back to Cundcliff, now known as Cunliffe Hill, in the township of Billington, near Blackburn in Lancashire. [1] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 - 1276 list Robert de Cundeclif in Yorkshire. [2] [1] A few years later Adam de Cunliffe was listed in Yorkshire 1317-1318. [1] The Register of Freemen of the City of York in 1411 lists Thomas Cunclyff. [2]

Early History of the Cunliffe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cunliffe research. Another 284 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1611, 1750, 1790, 1820 and 1871 are included under the topic Early Cunliffe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cunliffe Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Cunliffe are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Cunliffe include: Cunliffe, Cuncliffe, Concliffe, Conliffe, Cunlife, Conlife, Cunliff, Conliff and many more.

Early Notables of the Cunliffe family (pre 1700)

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


United States Cunliffe migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Cunliffe or a variant listed above:

Cunliffe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Cunliffe who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1630
  • Henry Cunliffe, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1644 [3]
Cunliffe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John and Esther Cunliffe, who arrived in Maryland in 1775 and later settled in Virginia
  • John Cunliffe, who settled in New York State in 1775
Cunliffe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Cunliffe, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1811 [3]
  • Simon Cunliffe, who landed in New York in 1830 [3]
  • Mrs. Cunliffe, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • Alice Cunliffe, aged 17, who landed in New York in 1864 [3]
  • Esther Cunliffe, aged 10, who landed in New York in 1864 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Cunliffe (post 1700) +

  • Mitzi Cunliffe (1918-2006), American sculptor
  • Whit Cunliffe (1876-1966), English comic singer
  • Robert Cunliffe (b. 1973), English cricketer
  • Sir Robert Alfred Cunliffe (1839-1905), 5th Baronet, an English Liberal politician
  • Sir Foster Hugh Egerton Cunliffe (1875-1916), 6th Baronet, an English historian and cricketer
  • Daniel "Dan" Cunliffe (1875-1937), English footballer
  • Walter Cunliffe (1855-1920), 1st Baron Cunliffe, British merchant banker, founder of Cunliffe Brothers in London, Governor of the Bank of England from 1913 to 1918
  • John Arthur Cunliffe (1933-2018), British children's book author, best known for his creation of "Rosie and Jim" and "Postman Pat" which has appeared in more than 50 countries
  • Stella Cunliffe MBE (b. 1917), Director of Statistics at the British Home Office
  • David Richard Cunliffe (b. 1963), New Zealand politician, Minister of Communications and Information Technology (2002-2008), 37th Minister of Health (2007-2008)
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Cunliffe 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: Fideliter
Motto Translation: Faithfully.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ 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)


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