Knaworth History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Knaworth. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Knaworth family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Knaworth is a local type of surname and the Knaworth family lived in Devon at the manor of Knaworth, which later came to be spelled Noseworthy.
Early Origins of the Knaworth family
The surname Knaworth was first found in Devon and Cornwall.
"The manor of Burnere or Brenere [in the parish of Egloshayle, Cornwall] belonged to the see of Exeter, when Doomsday Survey was taken, and here the Bishops had a country seat. At a much later period, it was held under the see by the family of Nosworthy. But their lease expiring in 1701, on the sudden death of Edward Nosworthy, Esq. the last of this family, Sir Jonathan Trelawney, then bishop of Exeter, granted a new lease to his own kindred." 
"The manor of Tregeare has belonged from time immemorial to the see of Exeter. Prior to the commencement of the last century, it had been for several generations held on lease by the family of Nosworthy." 
Important Dates for the Knaworth family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knaworth research. Another 65 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1481, 1530, 1502, 1503 and 1523 are included under the topic Early Knaworth History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Knaworth 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 Noseworthy, Norseworthy, Nosworthy, Norseworth, Noseworth and many more.
Early Notables of the Knaworth family (pre 1700)
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knaworth Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Knaworth family
An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Knaworth or a variant listed above: Tristrum and Ann Nosworthy, who arrived in Virginia in 1639; Joan Nosworthy, who came to Virginia in 1664; Edw. Nosworthy, who was on record in Virginia in 1666.
- ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print