Hornblowe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain were the first to use the name of Hornblowe. The name had a practical origin since it came from when its initial bearer worked as a person who was employed as a hornblower. In the Middle Ages, workmen were often summoned to work by the blowing of a horn. The surname Hornblowe is derived from the Old English word hornblawere, which means hornblower. [1]

"In the Middle Ages workmen were called to work by the ringing of bells or by a horn. In 1320, at Caernarvon, Walter de la Grene was paid 1d. per week ‘for blowing the horn’ " [2]

"Cornage is a law term (Latin cornagium) for a species of tenure in grand segjeanty, 'the service of which was to blow a horn when any invasion of the Scots was perceived; and by this tenure many persons held their lands northward, about the wall, commonly called the Pict's Wall.' The person who performed this duty for the lord, probably acquired the surname. At Ripon there prevails a peculiar custom, 'which according to some is of a date prior to the Conquest, viz., to blow a horn every night at nine o'clock; and formerly if any house or shop was robbed between that hour and sunrise the loss was made good to the sufferer, by a yearly tax of fourpence, imposed on every house-keeper. The tax is now discontinued, but the custom is still kept up of blowing the horn every night, three times at the mayor's door, and three times at the market-cross. The officer who performs this duty is called the Horn-blower.' " [3]

Early Origins of the Hornblowe family

The surname Hornblowe was first found in Essex, where John and Geoffrey le Homblauere were listed in 1255 and in the Assize Rolls for 1285. Adam Horneblawer was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire in 1301. [2]

The fictional courageous and a skilled seaman Horatio Hornblower is the protagonist in over twenty series of novels and stories by the English novelist, C.S. Forester (1899-1966).

Early History of the Hornblowe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hornblowe research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1255, 1285, 1608, 1626, 1753, 1717, 1780, 1692, 1761, 1712, 1725, 1748, 1761, 1745, 1765, 1766, 1780, 1729, 1809, 1753 and 1809 are included under the topic Early Hornblowe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hornblowe Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Hornblowe include Hornblow, Hornblower, Horneblow, Horneblower and others.

Early Notables of the Hornblowe family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Jonathan Hornblower (1717-1780), engineer, belonged to a family which for two generations had shown much inventive genius. "His father, Joseph Hornblower (1692?-1761), born at Broseley, Shropshire, made the acquaintance of Newcomen when the latter was building a machine at Wolverhampton in 1712, and went to Cornwall in 1725 to erect a Newcomen engine at Wheal Rose, near Truro; he afterwards erected similar engines at Wheal Bury and Polgooth, and in 1748 settled at Salem, Chacewater, and died at Bristol in 1761. Jonathan went to Cornwall to succeed his father as engineer in 1745...
Another 97 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hornblowe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Hornblowe family

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Hornblowe or a variant listed above: Josiah Hornblower, who immigrated to America in 1753.



  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  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.


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