Kennerley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Kennerley history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Kennerley history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Kennerley family originally lived in Devon, in the parish of Kennerleigh.

Early Origins of the Kennerley family

The surname Kennerley was first found in Devon, where they held a family seat from very early times.

Important Dates for the Kennerley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kennerley research. Another 213 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1243, 1500, 1661, 1746, and 1798 are included under the topic Early Kennerley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kennerley Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Kenerley, Kenerly, Kennerley, Kennerly, Kennerleigh, Kenerleigh, Kenardely and many more.

Early Notables of the Kennerley family (pre 1700)

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

Kennerley 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:

Kennerley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Kennerley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1878
  • H. B. Kennerley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1878
  • Elizabeth C. Kennerley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1878
  • Thomas Kennerley, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name Kennerley (post 1700)

  • Mitchell Kennerley (1878-1950), English-born, American publisher, editor, and gallery owner
  • Paul Kennerley, English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer
  • Kevin Robert Kennerley (b. 1954), English former footballer
  • Alfred Kennerley (1810-1897), Australian politician, 10th Premier of Tasmania (1873 to 1876)
  • Kerri-Anne Kennerley (b. 1953), Australian television presenter
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