Denman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Denman is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Denman family once lived in or near the valley. The surname is derived form the word den, which meant valley. It is generally thought that the name was Saxon in origin and meant "the man of the valley; a dweller in the vale." [1]

Early Origins of the Denman family

The surname Denman was first found in Essex, where the first record of the family was William Deneman who was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1314. A few years later, Adara Deneman was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Surrey in 1332. [2]

Further to the north in Yorkshire, Thomas de Denne; Richard de Denne; and Adam Denman were all listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [3]

Early History of the Denman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Denman research. Another 70 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Denman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Denman Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Denman family name include Denman, Dennam and others.

Early Notables of the Denman family (pre 1700)

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

Denman Ranking

In the United States, the name Denman is the 4,827th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [4]


United States Denman migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Denman surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Denman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Joe Denman, who settled in Bermuda in the Summers Islands in 1635
  • Jo Denman, aged 14, who landed in Bermuda in 1635 [5]
  • Ellice Denman, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [5]
  • Thomas Denman, who landed in Maryland in 1680 [5]
Denman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Peter Denman, who arrived in New England in 1710 [5]
  • Charles Denman, who settled in Boston in 1716
Denman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Denman, aged 48, who arrived in New York in 1812 [5]
  • William, Denman Jr., aged 19, who landed in New York in 1812 [5]
  • C. L. Denman, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850 with a lady
  • George Denman, who arrived in Ohio in 1885 [5]
  • Wilson Denman, who arrived in Ohio in 1887 [5]

Australia Denman migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Denman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Denman, English convict who was convicted in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Earl Grey" on 27th July 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. William Denman, (b. 1820), aged 23, English convict who was convicted in Taunton, Somerset, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Cressy" on 28th April 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • John Denman, aged 26, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Sultana" [8]
  • George Denman, aged 45, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Thetis" [9]
  • Diana Denman, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Thetis" [9]

New Zealand Denman migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Denman Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Denman, British settler referred to as the Parkhurst Boys travelling from London aboard the ship "Mandarin" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th November 1843, he had been taught trades and pardoned to live in New Zealand [10]
  • Mr. J. Denman, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Gananoque" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 9th May 1860 [10]
  • Mrs. Denman, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Gananoque" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 9th May 1860 [10]

West Indies Denman migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Denman Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. John Denman, (b. 1621), aged 14, British settler travelling aboard the ship "The Dorset" arriving in Barbados in September 1635 [12]
  • Thomas Denman, who settled in Barbados in 1673

Contemporary Notables of the name Denman (post 1700) +

  • Gertrude Mary Denman GBE, (1884-1954), Baroness Denman, née Pearson, British woman active in women's rights issues specifically the Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom, wife of the 3rd Baron Denman
  • Ulysses Grant Denman (1866-1962), American politician, 24th Ohio Attorney General (1908-1911)
  • Chris Denman (b. 1983), American NFL football offensive lineman
  • William Denman (1784-1870), Scottish-born, American publisher
  • William Denman (1872-1959), United States federal jurist, Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (1935-1957)
  • Anthony Richard "Tony" Denman (b. 1979), American actor, known for his work on various National Lampoon movies
  • Trevor Denman (b. 1952), South African-born, American sportscaster and public-address announcer in Thoroughbred horse racing
  • David Denman (b. 1973), American Screen Actors Guild Award winning film and television actor
  • Thomas Denman PC KC (1779-1854), 1st Baron Denman, English jurist, Lord Chief Justice of England (1832-1850) [13]
  • Thomas Denman the Elder M.D. (1733-1815), English physician, who identified Denman's spontaneous evolution and supported inducing premature labour in cases of narrow pelvis and other conditions [13]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Denman 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: Prudentia et constantia
Motto Translation: By prudence and constancy.


  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-grey
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st May 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/cressy
  8. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SULTANA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/sultana1852.shtml
  9. ^ South Australian Register Friday 1st September 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Emigrant 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/thetis1854.shtml
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  13. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020


Houseofnames.com on Facebook