Lances History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Lances is an ancient name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of emigration that followed the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The name comes from the Germanic personal name Lanzo, which was initially a short form of numerous compound names with the first portion land, which means land or territory. The name became popular among the Normans because of its association with the Old French word lance, which means spear. After the Norman Conquest, the Old English naming system gradually dissolved. Old English names became less common and were replaced by popular continental European names. The Normans imported a vast number of Norman French personal names, which largely replaced traditional Old English personal names among the upper and middle classes

Early Origins of the Lances family

The surname Lances was first found in Norfolk, where they held a family seat from the Middle Ages.

However, we did find a solitary early listing of the family in Penarth, Cornwall. "Penarth or Penair, which in the days of Hals belonged to the family of Launce, was by them sold to the Boscawens." [1]

Early History of the Lances family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lances research. Another 140 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1196, 1237, 1273, 1516, 1663, 1662 and 1802 are included under the topic Early Lances History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lances Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Lance, Laence, Lence, Lancie and others.

Early Notables of the Lances family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Lances family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Lances or a variant listed above: Gowin Lance, who sailed to Virginia in 1638; Philip Lance, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1749; James Lance, who arrived in New York in 1820; John Lance, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1820.



  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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