Show ContentsFurneaux History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Furneaux name begins with the Norman invaders of Britain. The name is derived from some of the many place names in Northern France created from the Old French word "fournel." One family resided in the area of Furneau-sur-Baise, near Falaise, France. [1] The Normans frequently used the name of their estate in Normandy as part of their name. Other Norman invaders took names from their recently acquired estates in England.

Early Origins of the Furneaux family

The surname Furneaux was first found in Somerset where Odo de Furnell was held in capite in 1086 [2] Later, Galfrid de Furnell was Sheriff of Devon 1 Hen. II (during the first year of Henry II's reign.) His son Henry followed him in the office 25 Hen. II. and 7 Richard I. Alan Furneaux, in 1165, was one of the Justiciaries. One of their seats was at Kentisbere.

"Within less than forty years after the conflict at Hastings, Henry I. granted the Manor of Fen Ottery, in Devon, to Allan de Furneaux, whose soil Galfrid de Furneaux of that place served as Sheriff of Devon, in 1154, as did his son Sir Alan de Furneaux in 1199. From the Testa de Neville and other sources, the Manor of Fen Ottery can be traced in the possession of the same family down to John de Furneaux, temp. Henry V. [3] A branch of this parent stem was established in Somersetshire, by Henry, brother of Sir Alan Furneaux, the Sheriff in 1199, and held the manors of Ashington, Kilve, &c. Three of its descendants, all bearing the Christian name of Matthew, occur on the list of Sheriffs of Devon: the last Sir Matthew dying in 1315, the year of his Shrievalty. " [4]

Another, Fenn Ottery, "was for many descents held by the Furneaux by sergeantry, and so continued unto the latter end of King Edward II.'s days." They had received it from Henry I. The last heir, Sir Matthew, died in 1315, the year of his shrievalty. The name is found in Northumberland, when Robert Fitz Roger and Ralph de Furnell were joint Sheriffs in 1200, 1201, and 1202. [5]

Early History of the Furneaux family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Furneaux research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1726, 1783 and 1726 are included under the topic Early Furneaux History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Furneaux Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Furneaux, Furnell, Fournel and others.

Early Notables of the Furneaux family (pre 1700)

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

New Zealand Furneaux 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:

Furneaux Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Furneaux, European settler originally settled on Auckland Islands, transported aboard the ship "Earl of Hardwicke" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 25th August 1852 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Furneaux (post 1700) +

  • Peter Furneaux (1935-2014), English football club chairman and investor, former Executive Director at Grimsby Town
  • Tobias Furneaux (1735-1781), English navigator and Royal Navy officer, who commanded the "Adventure" as part of Captain James Cook's second voyage of exploration
  • Karen Furneaux (b. 1976), Canadian world champion kayaker
  • Jane Furneaux Garrett (1973-2022), Australian politician, Member for Brunswick in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 2010 until 2018; she died from cancer 2 July 2022

  1. 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)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  4. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  5. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  6. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook