Gunning History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the name Gunning are with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from Gunwyn deriving its origin from the Old English gundwein, which meant "battle friend" or in some cases, as a baptismal name as in "the son of Gunwyn." [1]

Early Origins of the Gunning family

The surname Gunning was first found in Suffolk where "in Corton (Suffolk) in the reign of John, Gundewyn' de Nethergate held land which was held in 1275 by Gerald Gunwine or Gundwyne by heredity." [2]

Gundewinus cortinarius was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Surrey in 1130. From this early Latin entry, Thomas Gundewin was found in the Close Rolls of 1228 and William Gundewyne was later listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had only one listing, Willelmus Gunwyn as holding lands there at that time. [1]

Early History of the Gunning family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gunning research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1674, 1614, 1684, 1670, 1675, 1675, 1684, 1661, 1615, 1731, 1816 and are included under the topic Early Gunning History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gunning Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Gunning has been spelled many different ways, including Gunning, Guning and others.

Early Notables of the Gunning family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Peter Gunning (1614-1684), an English Royalist church leader, Bishop of Chichester (1670-1675) and Ely (1675-1684), Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1661.)...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gunning Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gunning family to Ireland

Some of the Gunning family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 95 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gunning migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Gunnings to arrive in North America:

Gunning Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Gunning, who settled in Barbados in 1680 with his servants
Gunning Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Barth Gunning, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [3]
  • Francis Gunning, who landed in Jamaica in 1720 [3]
  • John Gunning, who settled in Salem Massachusetts in 1799
Gunning Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert R Gunning, who landed in America in 1802 [3]
  • David Gunning, aged 60, who landed in Tennessee in 1812 [3]
  • William Gunning, who arrived in America in 1818 [3]
  • Robert Gunning, who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1822
  • William Peter Gunning, aged 16, who landed in New York in 1831 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gunning migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gunning Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Gunning, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1834
  • Mrs. Catherine Gunning, aged 38 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Thompson" departing 5th May 1847 from Sligo, Ireland; the ship arrived on 14th June 1847 but she died on board [4]
  • Miss. Eleanor Gunning, aged 3 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Thompson" departing 5th May 1847 from Sligo, Ireland; the ship arrived on 14th June 1847 but she died on board [4]
  • Mrs. Rose Gunning, aged 60 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Wilhelmina" departing 8th May 1847 from Belfast, Ireland; the ship arrived on 20th June 1847 but she died on board [4]

Australia Gunning migration to Australia +

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

Gunning Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Gunning, (b. 1808), aged 20, English cabinet maker who was convicted in Somerset, England for life for burglary, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 13th March 1828, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1885 [5]
  • Mr. Bryan Gunning, (b. 1807), aged 33, Cornish labourer travelling aboard the ship "Anne Gales" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 12th July 1840 [6]
  • Mrs. Mary Gunning, (b. 1811), aged 29, Cornish house servant travelling aboard the ship "Anne Gales" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 12th July 1840 [6]
  • Mr. John Gunning, (b. 1832), aged 8, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Anne Gales" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 12th July 1840 [6]
  • Mr. Charles Gunning, (b. 1837), aged 3, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Anne Gales" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 12th July 1840 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Gunning 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:

Gunning Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Gunning, British settler arriving as the 1st detachment of Royal New Zealand Fencible Corps travelling from Tilbury, Essex aboard the ship "Ramillies" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 6th August 1847 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gunning (post 1700) +

  • Ashleigh Gunning (b. 1985), American retired soccer forward
  • Sarah Ogan Gunning (1910-1983), American folk singer, of the singing Gunning clan
  • Thomas P. Gunning (1882-1943), American Republican politician, Dentist; Member of Illinois State Senate 37th District, 1931-43 [8]
  • Rosemary R. Gunning (1905-1997), American politician, Member of New York State Assembly, 1969-75 [8]
  • Ronald Gunning, American politician, Mayor of Dayton, Kentucky, 2000-02; Appointed 2000 [8]
  • Patrick K. Gunning, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Washington, 2008 [8]
  • Michael Gunning, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1988 [8]
  • Elizabeth Gunning (1769-1823), English translator and a novelist
  • Christopher Gunning (b. 1944), English composer of concert works and music for films and television
  • Sir Charles Theodore Gunning (b. 1935), 9th Baronet of Eltham in the County of Kent, English peer
  • ... (Another 14 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Gunning Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Imperio regit unus aequo
Motto Translation: One governs with just sway.


  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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 78)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1838_on.pdf
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 1) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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