Hepburn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In the ancient Scottish-English border region, the ancestors of the name Hepburn lived among the Boernicians. They lived in Durham but moved northward in 1329 to Chillingham in Northumberland, where they lived in the village of Hebburn in the parish of Chillingham.

Early Origins of the Hepburn family

The surname Hepburn was first found in Northumberland. Thomas de Heburn was on record in the Assize Rolls for that county in 1279. [1]

They prospered here from 1271 until the 18th century, when the family line ended with an heiress. Adam de Hepburn (de Hylburne) was the first of the line. [2]

One version of the tale goes that Hepburn was a prisoner of the Earl of March, who freed him and granted him lands for 'good and faithful service' after he saved the Earl's life from a feral (wild) horse. These lands were in East Lothian and the family spent the next several centuries aggressively acquiring new lands. [2]

Early History of the Hepburn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hepburn research. Another 125 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1536, 1568, 1432, 1479, 1467, 1483, 1508, 1512, 1556, 1513, 1497, 1513, 1522, 1563, 1612, 1536, 1578, 1637, 1598, 1636 and 1672 are included under the topic Early Hepburn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hepburn Spelling Variations

Spelling rules only evolved in the last few centuries with the invention of the printing press and the first dictionaries. Spelling variations are extremely common in names from before that period. Hepburn has been spelled Heighborne, Haybourne, Haybourn, Haybirn, Haybyrne, Heighburn, Heighbyrne, Heighbirn, Hepboyrne, Hepbirn, Hepbyrne, Hepburn, Heighbourne, Heyburn, Hebborne, Hebbourne, Hebbirn, Hebbyrne, Hebboorne and many more.

Early Notables of the Hepburn family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Adam Hepburn, Master of Hailes (c. 1432-1479), Sheriff of Berwickshire (1467); Sir Patrick Hepburn of Dunsyre, 1st Lord Hailes (died 1483) was the feudal lord of Hailes and its castle in Haddingtonshire and a Lord of Parliament; Patrick Hepburn, Patrick Hepburn, 3rd Lord Hailes and 1st Earl of Bothwell (died 1508), Lord High Admiral of Scotland. He was the eldest son of Adam, second lord Hailes, and Helen, eldest daughter of Alexander, first lord Home. [3] Patrick Hepburn third Earl of Bothwell (1512?-1556), was the only son of Adam, second earl of...
Another 210 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hepburn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Hepburn family to Ireland

Some of the Hepburn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Hepburn migration to the United States +

After making their great crossing, many Boernician-Scottish families settled along the east coast of North America. When the War of Independence broke out, United Empire Loyalists moved north to Canada while the rest stayed to fight. The ancestors of many of these Scots still populate the continent. This century, through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations, they began to rediscover their collective national heritage. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Hepburn or a variant listed above:

Hepburn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Hepburn, who landed in Massachusetts in 1636 [4]
Hepburn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Patrick Hepburn, who arrived in America in 1700 [4]
  • Charles Hepburn, who arrived in Cape Fear, North Carolina in 1743 [4]
  • Joseph Hepburn, who landed in North Carolina in 1775 [4]
  • Thomas Hepburn, who settled in Baltimore in 1792
Hepburn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Hepburn, who arrived in America in 1820 [4]
  • Robert Hepburn, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836 [4]

Australia Hepburn migration to Australia +

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

Hepburn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Donald Hepburn, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1849 [5]
  • Joseph Hepburn (aged 22), a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Eliza"
  • Isabella Hepburn, aged 19, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "David McIvor"

New Zealand Hepburn 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:

Hepburn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A Hepburn, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • Edward Hepburn, aged 24, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Shamrock" in 1855
  • Mr. W. Hepburn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [6]
  • Mr. A. Hepburn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [6]
  • Mrs. Hepburn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Hepburn (post 1700) +

  • Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston) (1929-1993), born Audrey Kathleen Ruston, British (Belgian born) actress and humanitarian and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Andrew Dousa Hepburn (1830-1921), American academic, President of Miami University and Davidson College
  • William Peters Hepburn (1833-1916), American Civil War officer and Republican congressman, responsible for the Hepburn Act of 1906
  • Arthur J Hepburn, American admiral
  • Katherine Houghton Hepburn (1907-2003), four time Academy Award winning American actress of film, stage, and television [7]
  • William Peters Hepburn (1833-1916), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1860, 1888, 1896; U.S. Representative from Iowa 8th District, 1881-87, 1893-1909 [8]
  • William Hepburn, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 5th District, 1866 [8]
  • Nan K. Hepburn, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1924, 1928 [8]
  • Mary Hepburn, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Maryland, 1960 [8]
  • Lawrence Hepburn, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Missouri, 2000 [8]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John David Hepburn, British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [9]
  • Master Owen Hepburn, Canadian Second Class Passenger from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [10]
  • Mrs. Mary Katharine Hepburn (1877-1914), née Meredith Canadian Second Class Passenger from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [10]
  • Miss Barbara Hepburn (1911-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [10]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  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) DAVID MALCOLM 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849DavidMalcolm.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ Katherine Hepburn. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Katherine Hepburn. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Hepburn
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  10. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


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