Show ContentsKnapton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Knapton surname lived in Knapton, a place-name found in Yorkshire and in Norfolk. The place-name is derived from the Old English personal name Cnapa, and tun, an Old English word that means farm or enclosure. Later, tun came to mean village and then town, and is in fact the root of the Modern English word town. The name Cnapa means servant in the Old English. The place-name, therefore, means "farm belonging to Cnapa," or "the servants farmstead." [1]

Early Origins of the Knapton family

The surname Knapton was first found in Norfolk where the place was first listed in the Domesday Book as Kanapatone, part of the Greehoe hundred, land held by William de Warene. [2] At that time, it was one carucate of land and had 10 villans (peasants), 5 borders and 1 slave. As of 2001, the village and civil parish is home to 362 residents. Further north in Yorkshire, Knapton also dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Cnapeton and Cnapetone, land held by Ralph de Mortimer. Today the village and civil parish has a population of about 222 residing in 96 households.

Early History of the Knapton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knapton research. Another 56 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1406, 1433, 1406, 1415, 1419, 1431, 1432, 1433, 1698, 1778, 1700 and 1760 are included under the topic Early Knapton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knapton Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Knapton are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Knapton include: Knapton, Napton, Knappen and others.

Early Notables of the Knapton family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Knapton (fl.1406-1433), an English politician, Member of the Parliament of England for Cambridge in 1406, 1415, 1419 and 1431 and Mayor of Cambridge (1432-1433.) George Knapton (1698-1778)...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knapton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Knapton migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Knapton or a variant listed above:

Knapton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jane Knapton, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [3]
Knapton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Knapton, who settled in Boston in 1716
  • Robert Knapton, who settled in Virginia in 1754
Knapton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Knapton, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1864 [3]

Australia Knapton migration to Australia +

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

Knapton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Knapton, (b. 1822), aged 41, English butcher who was convicted in Taunton, Somerset, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 11th March 1863, arriving in Western Australia, Australia, he died in 1884 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Knapton (post 1700) +

  • Philip Knapton (1788-1833), English organist and composer, born at York, he composed several overtures and other orchestral works
  • John Knapton (1949-1991), English professor of structural engineering at University of Newcastle from 1991 to 2001
  • George Knapton (1698-1778), English portrait painter and the first portraitist for the Society of Dilettanti in the 1740s, Surveyor and Keeper of the King's Pictures (1765-1768)
  • Thomas Knapton (1816-1833), English teenager convicted of rape, the last juvenile to be hanged in the United Kingdom at the age of 17

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. 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)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th February 2021). Retrieved from on Facebook