Fone History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Fone name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived near a marsh or swamp. Another name for wetlands is fen, in the Old English fenn, from which this name is derived. [1] There are two place-names that may serve as sources for the name as well: Fen, in Lincolnshire, and Venn, in Devon.

Early Origins of the Fone family

The surname Fone was first found in Devon, where the family held a family seat from early times. The origins of the name make it likely that several branches of the Fone family emerged independently in different areas during the Middle Ages. The earliest known bearer of the name was Godwin de la Fenna, who was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1176. [2]

From this first record, records of the family were scattered. Thomas attefenne was a Templar Knight in Warwickshire in 1185, Ralph de

Fenne was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1190, Herveus del Fen was listed in Suffolk in 1190, John atte Venne was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327, and Walter en la Fenne was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1340. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has two listings: Isabella ate Fenne, Oxfordshire; and Robert de la Fenne, Somerset. In Norfolk, John atte Fen was Bailiff of Yarmouth in 1377 and Thomas Fenn, was similarly bailiff of Yarmouth. [3]

The Close Rolls, like many early rolls listed entries in the relation to the year of the king's reign where the first number is the year, followed by the king's name. By example, John atte Fene, Close Rolls, 14 Edward III, denoted the entry was made in the fourteenth year of Edward III's reign. From this example, the reader can better understand Walter atte Fenne, Close Rolls, 1 Edward II; Thomas de Fenne, Close Rolls, 2 Edward I; and Roger atte Fenne, Somerset, 1 Edward III. [4]

Early History of the Fone family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fone research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1176, 1185, 1190, 1199, 1297, 1586, 1650, 1639, 1637, 1615, 1987, 1691, 1740, 1687, 1586, 1650, 1641, 1650 and 1723 are included under the topic Early Fone History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fone Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Fone were recorded, including Fenn, Fenne, Fennoy, Fann, Fan, Venn, Fen and others.

Early Notables of the Fone family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: John Venn (1586-1650), English regicide, second son of Simon Venn of Lydiard St. Lawrence, Somerset; Sir Richard Venn or Fenn (died 1639), an English merchant and politician, Lord Mayor of London in 1637; and John Fenn (d. December 1615), an English Roman Catholic priest, writer and Catholic martyr, beatified in 1987. Richard Venn (1691-1740), was an English divine, born at Holbeton, Devonshire, the eldest...
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fone Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Fone migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Fone family emigrate to North America:

Fone Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jakob Fone, who landed in Texas in 1844 [5]
  • Edward Fone, aged 27, who settled in America from Newcastle on Tyne, in 1898
  • Nellie Fone, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States from Newcastle on Tyne, in 1898
  • William Fone, aged 1, who immigrated to America from Newcastle on Tyne, in 1898
Fone Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Agnes Maud Fone, aged 22, who landed in America from England, in 1907
  • Thomas Fone, aged 40, who landed in America from Stoke on Trent, England, in 1914
  • Hannah Fone, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1914
  • Henry Fone, aged 34, who settled in America from Topsham, England, in 1920
  • Frederick Fone, aged 42, who landed in America, in 1924

Contemporary Notables of the name Fone (post 1700) +

  • Stephen Fone (b. 1987), English ice hockey goaltender


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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)


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