Ironside History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Ironside is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was a name given to a person who because of his physical characteristics and strength was referred to as iron-side. [1]

"A title of valour, well-known amongst us, from the days of the Saxon Edward, to those of Cromwell's ' Ironsides,' and since, whenever we speak of a robust person." [2] "Old Ironsides" was a nickname of Oliver Cromwell due to the name given to his troopers in the Parliamentarian cavalry.

Early Origins of the Ironside family

The surname Ironside was first found in Durham where the best-known bearer of this nickname was Edmund II (died 1016), better known as Edmund Ironside, King of England from 23 April to 30 November 1016. He was not expected to be king, but his two older brothers had died, making him the oldest male heir.

He earned his nickname "Ironside" because of his valour in resisting the Danish invasion led by Cnut the Great. Björn Ironside was a legendary king of Sweden who lived sometime in the 9th century.

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide surname spellings in use at that time. In Lincolnshire, we found Hugh Irinside and Thomas Irensdie listed there in 1297 and later John Irenside was listed as a Freeman or York in 1333. [3]

Further to the north in Scotland, "there is a place Ironside at New Deer, Aberdeenshire, and a farm called Earnside in Moray. At Black Ironside, or Earnside, near Newburgh, Fife, Wallace is said to have gained a victory over the English and drove them out of Fife. The surname most probably originated from the Aberdeenshire place. In the eighteenth century the surname was very common in the district of New Deer. Mage Irynsyd was banished from Aberdeen in 1570, Patrick Irnesyde in Tarnehill was a victim of the Aberdeen witches in 1597, and James Irnesyde, at the old mill of Foveran, was accused in 1627 of being an 'idle and masterless man' " [4]

Early History of the Ironside family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ironside research. Another 188 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1306, 1260, 1870, 1297, 1333, 1570, 1588, 1671, 1661, 1671, 1588, 1550, 1609, 1550, 1581, 1577, 1580, 1581, 1632, 1701, 1667, 1692, 1632, 1650, 1652, 1655, 1664, 1666, 1671 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Ironside History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ironside Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Ironside were recorded, including Ironside, Earnside and others.

Early Notables of the Ironside family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Gilbert Ironside the Elder (1588-1671), Bishop of Bristol (1661-1671.) He was the "elder son of Ralph Ironside, by Jane, daughter of William Gilbert, M.A., of Magdalen College, Oxford, superior beadle of arts, was born at Hawkesbury, near Sodbury, Gloucestershire, on 25 Nov. 1588. His father, Ralph Ironside (1550?-1609), born at Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, about 1550, was third son of John Ironside of Houghton-le-Spring (d. 1581); matriculated from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, 20 Dec. 1577, and graduated B.A. in 1580-1581." [5] His...
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ironside Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Ironside migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Ironside family emigrate to North America:

Ironside Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Ironside, who arrived in Virginia sometime between 1666 and 1667
Ironside Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Christian Ironside, who was banished to America in 1749
  • George Ironside, who arrived in Ohio in 1790
Ironside Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Ironside, aged 38, who landed in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Helen Ironside, who settled in New York in 1815
  • R B Ironside, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]

New Zealand Ironside 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:

Ironside Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Ironside, who landed in Cloudy Bay, New Zealand in 1839

Contemporary Notables of the name Ironside (post 1700) +

  • Henry Allen "Harry" Ironside (1876-1951), Canadian-born, American Bible teacher, preacher, theologian, pastor, and author
  • Roy Ironside (b. 1935), English former professional footballer
  • Ian Ironside (b. 1964), retired English football goalkeeper
  • Joe Samuel Ironside (b. 1993), English footballer
  • Isaac Ironside (1808-1870), British Chartist and socialist politician
  • Virginia Ironside (b. 1945), British journalist and author, daughter of Christopher Ironside
  • Edmund Oslac Ironside (b. 1924), 2nd Baron Ironside, a British hereditary peer and politician who sat in the House of Lords from 1959 to 1999
  • Field Marsha William Edmund Ironside GCB, CMG, DSO (1880-1959), 1st Baron Ironside, a British military commander, Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the Second World War
  • Robert Ironside (1854-1910), Canadian businessman and politician who represented Manitou in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
  • Frederick Reginald "Michael" Ironside (b. 1950), Canadian four-time Gemini Award nominated actor, writer, and director, best known for playing villains and "tough guy" heroes in movies like Total Recall (1990), The Machinist (2004) and Top Gun (1986)
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Ironside 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: In hoc signo vinces
Motto Translation: Under this sign thou shall conquer.


  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. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ 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)


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