Gurr History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Gurr is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Gurr family lived in the district north of Paris which is known in Old French as Gohiere. There are also numerous places in Normandy called Gouy, to which the Anglo-Norman French suffix er was added to make "Gower."

Early Origins of the Gurr family

The surname Gurr was first found in Yorkshire, where a family of Gower, ancestors of the Duke of Sutherland, held a family seat in Stittenham Township, "descended from Sir Nicholas Gower, knight of the shire for this county in the reign of Edward III., and seated at Stittenham from about the same period."

Another reference is more specific. "All of Antiquities agree that this family is one of the oldest in the county of York, though they differ as to its patriarch, whom some say will have to be Sir Alan Gowers, said to be sheriff of that county at the time of the Norman Conquest, while others with greater probability assert that it descended from on Guhyer, whose son, called William Fitz-Guher of Stittenham, was charged with a mark for his lands in the sheriff's account in 1167." [1]

It is generally agreed that Gower the Poet was from the Stittenham stock. [1] Today Stittenham is a township in the parish of Sheriff with as few as 92 inhabitants in the late 1800s. [2]

Early History of the Gurr family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gurr research. Another 269 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1195, 1198, 1130, 1347, 1325, 1408, 1365, 1543, 1577, 1575, 1585, 1638, 1711 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Gurr History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gurr Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Gurr are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Gurr include Gower, Gowers, Gowar, Gowars, Goward, Gore, Goher, Gurr, Goer and many more.

Early Notables of the Gurr family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Henry Gower, (d. 1347), Bishop of St. David's and "was sprung from a noble family who settled probably in the English-speaking peninsula of Gower, not far from Swansea." [3] John Gower (1325?-1408), was an English poet and acquired the Lordship of Aldington, Kent in 1365. He was probably nephew and heir-male of Sir Robert Gower of Kent, remembered mainly for three long poems. Sir Thomas...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gurr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gurr family to Ireland

Some of the Gurr family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 36 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gurr migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Gurr, or a variant listed above:

Gurr Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Georg Gurr who settled in Virginia in 1621
  • Georg Gurr, who landed in Virginia in 1621 [4]
  • George Gurr, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [4]
Gurr Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Gurr, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760 [4]
  • John Gurr who settled in Pennsylvania in 1760

Australia Gurr migration to Australia +

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

Gurr Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joshua Gurr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [5]
  • John Gurr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [5]
  • Ann Gurr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Moffatt" in 1839 [5]
  • George Gurr, aged 61, a blacksmith, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1850 [6]
  • Ann Gurr, aged 35, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1850 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Gurr (post 1700) +

  • Ted Robert Gurr (b. 1936), leading American authority on political conflict and instability
  • Robert Henry Gurr (b. 1931), American amusement ride designer said to have designed most, if not all, of the ride vehicles of the Disneyland attractions
  • W. H. Gurr, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1912 [7]
  • T. E. Gurr, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1908 [7]
  • Charlotte Gurr (b. 1989), English footballer
  • Ms. Rosemary Gurr M.B.E., British recipient of the Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 For services to British foreign policy [8]
  • Michael Gurr (1961-2017), Australian playwright, author, speech writer and screenwriter
  • Andrew John Gurr (b. 1936), New Zealand contemporary literary scholar


The Gurr 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: Frangas non flectes
Motto Translation: Thou may'st break, but shalt not bend me.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MOFFATT 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Moffatt.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SULTANA 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Sultana.htm
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 1) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists


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