Show ContentsHarmsworth History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Harmsworth was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Harmsworth family lived in the town of Hemsworth in Yorkshire. The place-name was recorded in the Domesday Book as Hilmeuurod and Hamelsuurde. It was originally derived from the Old English personal name Hymel and the Old English word word, which means enclosure. [1] [2]

The personal name Hymel is a short form of names such as Hunbeald, which means bear-cub bold, and Hunbeorht, which means bear-cub bright. Thus, the name Harmsworth changed dramatically over time. Surnames rarely appeared in their modern form in ancient chronicles. In the 11th and 12th centuries, it was common practice to Latinize names in official records. The modern spelling of a surname is usually related to the phonetic spelling of that name that was developed during the 17th or 18th century.

Early Origins of the Harmsworth family

The surname Harmsworth was first found in Yorkshire at Hemsworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire. At the taking of the Domesday Book survey, initiated by Duke William in the year 1086 after his conquest of England at the Battle of Hastings in the year 1066, Hemsworth was held by Gamel, a Norman noble, who held it from the tenant-in-chief Ilbert de Lacy. Conjecturally, the Hemsworth line is descended from this source. Alternatively, the name could have been derived from Harmondsworth, a parish in Middlesex. [3]

The first record of the family was Adam de Himeswurth who was listed in the Assize Rolls for Yorkshire in 1219. [2]

Early History of the Harmsworth family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harmsworth research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1621 and 1672 are included under the topic Early Harmsworth History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harmsworth Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Hamsworth, Harmsworth, Hemsworth and others.

Early Notables of the Harmsworth family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Harmsworth family to Ireland

Some of the Harmsworth 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.

Australia Harmsworth migration to Australia +

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

Harmsworth Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Gray Harmsworth, aged 25, a plumber, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Telegraph"

Contemporary Notables of the name Harmsworth (post 1700) +

  • Patricia Evelyn Beverley Matthews Harmsworth (1933-1992), Viscountess Rothermere, born Patricia Evelyn Beverley Matthews, an English socialite and actress
  • Paul Harmsworth (b. 1963), English sprinter at the 1988 Olympic Games
  • Mr. William John Harmsworth M.B.E., J.P. (b. 1948), British magistrate, scout leader and rotarian was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to the Magistracy and to the community in Newdigate, Surrey [4]
  • Harold Jonathan Esmond Vere Harmsworth (b. 1967), 4th Viscount Rothermere, British viscount and newspaper magnate
  • Esmond Cecil Harmsworth (1898-1978), 2nd Viscount Rothermere, a British Conservative politician
  • Sir Robert Leicester Harmsworth (1870-1937), 1st Baronet, British businessman and Liberal politician
  • Harold Sidney Harmsworth Bt. (1868-1940), 1st Viscount Rothermere, British newspaper proprietor, owner of Associated Newspapers Ltd
  • Cecil Bisshopp Harmsworth (1869-1948), 1st Baron Harmsworth, British businessman and Liberal politician, Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department in 1915, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1919 and 1922
  • Alfred Charles William Harmsworth (1865-1922), 1st Viscount Northcliffe, Irish-born, British newspaper and publishing magnate, founder of the Amalgamated Press was a newspaper and magazine publishing company in 1901
  • Hon. Vere Harold Esmond Harmsworth, Chairman, Associated Newspapers Group Ltd

The Harmsworth 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: Manus haec inimica tyrannis
Motto Translation: This hand is hostile to tyrants.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook