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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


Membry is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Membry family lived in Northumberland. The name, however, is a reference to the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Montbrai, in La Manche, Normandy; and Thomas de Mowbray (1385-1405), 4th Earl of Norfolk, 2nd Earl of Nottingham, 8th Baron Segrave, 7th Baron Mowbray, English nobleman and rebel, after death of father, allowed to succeed him as Earl of Norfolk and Nottingham, but not as Duke of Norfolk, received his father's title of Earl Marshal, became involved with the latest rebellion of the Percies in the north, and raised an army with Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York, they were arrested as soon as they disbanded their followers, Chief Justice Sir William Gascoigne refused to pass sentence upon them before they were tried by their peers, Henry had both Norfolk and Scrope summarily beheaded, in York 1405. The family claim descent from "the ancient barony or Mowbray, called by Odericus Vitalis Molbraium, [which] was identical with the village of Monbrai, in the canton or Perci, an arrondissement of St. Lo in Normandy." [1]

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Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Membry were recorded, including Mowbray, Moubray, Mowbrey, Moubrey and others.

First found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. Geoffrey de Montbray (d. 1093,) bishop of Coutances was a warrior, administrator and close assistant of William. After the death of William, Geoffrey settled in Bristol, (as listed in the Domesday book) where he built a strong castle but frequently feuded with William II. "A strong castle was erected [at Thirsk in the North Riding of Yorkshire] about 979 by the family of Mowbray, where Roger de Mowbray in the time of Henry II., having become a confederate of the King of Scotland, erected his standard against his lawful sovereign: upon the suppression of the revolt, this fortress, with many others, was entirely demolished by order of the king." [2] The same Roger de Mowbray also held Bambrough Castle in Northumberland. "After the Norman Conquest it was held by Robert de Mowbray, on whose insurrection against William Rufus it was besieged, and, after an obstinate defence, surrendered to that monarch, who threatened, unless it were given up, to put out the eyes of Mowbray, who had been taken prisoner." [2]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Membry research. Another 417 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1297, 1366, 1399, 1377, 1396, 1444, 1476, 1475, 1225, 1314, 1365, 1399 and 1397 are included under the topic Early Membry History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Membry Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Membry arrived in North America very early: Thomas Moubray, who came to West Indies in 1678; William and Hannah Mowbury, who arrived in North Carolina in 1680; William Moubray, who settled in Maryland in 1716.

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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  6. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  7. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  11. ...

The Membry Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Membry Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 14 March 2016 at 14:10.

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