Gaunt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Gaunt family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived person who was "gaunt," [1] as in Shakespeare's character John of Gaunt in Richard II "Oh how my name befits my composition! Old Gaunt, indeed, and gaunt in being old." Another more credible origin of the name is having derived "from the town of Gaunt, now Ghent, in Flanders." [2]

This source continues "Gilbert de Gand or Gant, a great Domesday tenant, was son of Baldwin, Earl of Flanders, whose sister William the Conqueror married." [2]

Early Origins of the Gaunt family

The surname Gaunt was first found in Kent where Richard le Gaunt was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1219. The same year Gilbert de Gaunt was listed in the same rolls in Lincolnshire. A few years later, Maurice le Gant was listed in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1225. [3]

"This family is mentioned as early as 1153-1194 in the Durham "Bolden Buke" where it is said the 'Gilbert the Chamberlain held the service of Ralfe Caunt, of Bursebred, in exchange for the Isle of Bradbere.' In Bishop Hatfield's time (1345-1381) Henry de Kaunt held lands in Kyo. " [4]

Maurice le Gant (died 1230) was the founder of Beverston Castle in Gloucestershire in 1225. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had numerous entries for the family: Hugh le Gant and John le Gant in Oxfordshire; Gilbert le Gaunt in Cambridgeshire; Robert le Gaunt in Lincolnshire; and Henry le Gaunt and Maurice de Gaunt in Somerset.

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Willelmus Gaunte; and Petrus de Gaunt. [5]

Early History of the Gaunt family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gaunt research. Another 96 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1219, 1340, 1399, 1685 and 1685 are included under the topic Early Gaunt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gaunt Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Gaunt, Gant, Kaunt and others.

Early Notables of the Gaunt family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Elizabeth Gaunt (died 1685), an English woman from London sentenced to death for treason for involvement in the Rye House Plot. She was the wife of William Gaunt, a yeoman of the parish of St. Mary's, Whitechapel. "She was an Anabaptist, and, according to Burnet, spent her life doing good, 'visiting gaols, and looking after the poor of every persuasion.' In the reign of Charles II she had taken pity on one Burton, outlawed for his part in the Rye House plot. Though she was a poor woman, keeping a tallow-chandler's shop, she...
Another 134 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gaunt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gaunt migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Gaunt or a variant listed above were:

Gaunt Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Peter Gaunt who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637
  • Robert Gaunt, who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Peter Gaunt, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637 [6]
  • Rich Gaunt, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [6]
  • Robert Gaunt, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gaunt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Richard Gaunt, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1820
  • John and Ann Gaunt, who settled in New York State with seven children in 1823
  • William Gaunt, who landed in Mississippi in 1839 [6]
  • Leonard Gaunt, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1848 [6]
  • Joshua Gaunt, who settled in America in 1865

Australia Gaunt migration to Australia +

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

Gaunt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Enoch Gaunt, British convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 1st October 1829, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Mr. James Gaunt, English convict who was convicted in Staffordshire , England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 27th August 1841, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Joseph Gaunt, aged 28, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Thetis" [9]

New Zealand Gaunt 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:

Gaunt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Jane Gaunt, aged 20, a housemaid, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Douglas" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name Gaunt (post 1700) +

  • Sidney Clyde Gaunt (1874-1932), American typographer, and artist, responsible for hundreds of type fonts
  • John L. Gaunt (1924-2007), American Pulitzer Prize-winning (1955) photographer
  • Frank Gaunt, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 8 aerial victories
  • Viva Gaunt (1892-1974), American Republican politician, Nurse; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1956 [10]
  • Sharon Gaunt, American Democrat politician, Chair of Isabella County Democratic Party, 2007 [10]
  • George W. F. Gaunt (1865-1918), American Republican politician, Member of New Jersey State Senate from Gloucester County, 1909-17; Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1916 [10]
  • Elisha Gaunt, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Burlington County, 1855-56 [10]
  • Alfred Calvin Gaunt (b. 1882), American Republican politician, Member of Massachusetts Governor's Council, 1947-48; Defeated, 1948 [10]
  • Valerie Gaunt (1932-2016), English actress, best known for her appearances in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958)
  • John Gaunt, English airplane designer and build of the Gaunt biplane no.2 'Baby' which successfully flew in the summer of 1911
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Miss Doris Winifred Gaunt (1896-1914), English First Class Passenger from Birmingham, England, United Kingdom who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [11]


  1. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bussorah-merchant
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) THETIS 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Thetis.htm
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


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