Footman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought many new words to England from which surnames were formed. Footman was one of these new Norman names. It was specifically tailored to its first bearer, who was a person with remarkable feet. Nicknames were often used to distinguish a person by a noticeable physical characteristic. In this case the trait may have been very large feet, or feet which were deformed in some way. The name was originally derived from the Old English word fot which meant foot. Alternatively, the name could have been derived from a residence, in other words someone who lived at the "foot of a mountain". For the Footman variation, the obvious occupational origin as a soldier in the infantry applies and not as a domestic servant. [1]

Early Origins of the Footman family

The surname Footman was first found in Cheshire where Ernui Fot was listed as an undertenant in the Domesday Book. The same reference lists Godwin Fot in Kent so one can presume that the name was polygenetic. [2]

Another branch was found in the parish of Calstock in Cornwall. "The manor of Harwood or Harewood, which had been held under the dutchy of Cornwall by the family of Foote about fourscore years, was purchased in fee under the Land-tax Redemption Act in 1798, by John Pierson Foote, Esq. by whom it was sold to Thomas Bewes, Esq. Harewood House, which was built by Mr. Foote, is a handsome building situated about one mile from the church." [3]

"Bodanua or Bodannan, [in the parish of St. Enoder, Cornwall] belonged for some time to the Footes of Lambesso, of whom it was purchased by Johnson Vivian, Esq." [3]

Early History of the Footman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Footman research. Another 132 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1651, 1450, 1520, 1652, 1683, 1592, 1687, 1646, 1649, 1744, 1826, 1744, 1766, 1769 and 1826 are included under the topic Early Footman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Footman Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Foote, Foot, Fouts and others.

Early Notables of the Footman family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Thomas Foote, 1st Baronet (1592-1687), English grocer in London, Sheriff of London in 1646 and Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1649. Jesse Foote(1744-1826), the English surgeon, was born at Charlton in Wiltshire in 1744. "He received a medical education in London, becoming a member of the Surgeons' Company, and about 1766 went to the West Indies, where he practised for three years in the island of Nevis, returning in 1769...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Footman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Footman Ranking

In the United States, the name Footman is the 16,945th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Footman family to Ireland

Some of the Footman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Footman migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Footman or a variant listed above:

Footman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Footman, who landed in Maryland in 1658 [5]
Footman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jacob Footman, who landed in New Jersey in 1738 [5]

New Zealand Footman 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:

Footman Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Benjamin Footman, aged 24, a sawyers labourer, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Countess of Kintore" in 1875


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  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)


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