Show ContentsDurnford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Durnford is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo Saxon tribes of Britain. The first people to bear this distinguished name lived in the civil parish of Great and Little Durnford on the river Avon in Wiltshire. [1] The name Durnford derives from the Anglo-Saxon words "dierne ford" for "hidden ford" meaning the hidden crossing over the nearby river Avon. [2]

Early Origins of the Durnford family

The surname Durnford was first found in Wiltshire where Roger de Derneford (b. 1135) held the fifth part of a knight's fee in 1165. His father was born in 1090 in that area but his grandfather was born in 1040 in Normandy. [3] Roger de Derneford was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1190. This "Roger" may be the same as the aforementioned. A few years later, William de Durneford was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls in 1255. [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included Richard de Dumeford, Wiltshire [1] and the Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum, temp. Henry III-Edward I listed Richard de Demeford, Wiltshire, Henry III-Edward I and William de Durneford. Wiltshire. [5]

To the south in Devon, the manor of East Stonehouse (commonly called Stonehouse now) was passed from the Stonehouse family to the Durnfords through marriage, "whose heiress in turn carried it to its present possessors, the Edgcumbes. Apart from the building whose solid character gave the manor its name, there is little evidence, until stonehouse came into the hands of the Durnfords, that it consisted of more than the castellated mansion of its lords, with some buildings of a monastic character, doubtfully connected with the great Priory of Plympton. The Durnfords, however, did their best to foster their infant town ; and James Durnford, as noted, brought down upon him the Abbot of Buckland, as lord of the hundred of Roborough, by setting up a pillory and tumbrel at ' Estonhouse ' and holding courts there, wherefore, 26th Henry VI., it was ordered that the pillory and tumbrel should be ' deposed, destroyed, and removed,' that no courts should be held by Durnford which interfered with the abbot's view of frank-pledge, and no hindrance put to the execution of the abbot's precepts or the action of his bailiffs, etc., in the manor. Stonehouse was little more than a fishing village from

the time of the Durnfords until the reign of Henry VIII. , when it grew more rapidly. " [6]

Early History of the Durnford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Durnford research. Another 73 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1340, 1774, 1788, 1793, 1808, 1816, 1831 and 1850 are included under the topic Early Durnford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Durnford Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Durnford, Darnford, Dornford and others.

Early Notables of the Durnford family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • Major General Elias Walker Durnford R.E (1774-1850) English military officer. Durnford was born in 1774 in Lowestoft, Suffolk. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineer...
  • When he was appointed in 1808 as commanding engineer in Newfoundland, he had to give up a 'deep desire' to take part in the war in Spain. In Newfoundland Durnford was primarily occupied with maintain...

United States Durnford migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Durnford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Lucas Durnford, aged 45, who arrived in Connecticut in 1812 [7]
  • P Durnford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [7]
  • William Durnford, aged 21, who arrived in New York in 1868 [7]
  • Emeline M Durnford, aged 16, who landed in New York in 1868 [7]
  • James Durnford, aged 50, who arrived in New York in 1868 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Durnford migration to Australia +

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

Durnford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Durnford, aged 40, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Marion" [8]
  • W. Durnford, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Marion" in 1849 [8]
  • Martha Durnford, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Marion" in 1849 [8]
  • William Durnford, aged 21, a plumber, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Taymouth Castle" [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Durnford (post 1700) +

  • The Rt Rev Richard Durnford, Bishop of Chichester from 1870 to 1895
  • General Edward William Durnford (1803-1889), Commanding Royal Engineer in Ireland from 1860 to 1866
  • Major General Elias Walker Durnford (d. 1849), Commanding Engineer for Upper and Lower Canada from 1816 to 1831
  • Elias Durnford (1739-1794), Commanding Engineer and Surveyor-General of West Florida, Lieutenant-Governor of Florida
  • Colonel Antony William Durnford (1830-1879), British Army officer who served in the Anglo-Zulu War, eponym of Fort Durnford, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
  • Geoffrey Durnford Iliff (1867-1946), English Anglican missionary bishop, Archdeacon of Hereford (1941)
  • John Durnford Jernegan (1911-1981), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, 1958-62; Algeria, 1965-67 [10]

  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. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  6. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  7. 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)
  8. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The MARION 1849. Retrieved from
  9. South Australian Register Tuesday 26th June 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Taymouth Castle 1855. Retrieved
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook