Nigh History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Nigh was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the Old English given name Noye.

Early Origins of the Nigh family

The surname Nigh was first found in Cornwall. "Pen-tre, Pendre, or Pendray, in this parish, gave its name to a family thence called Pendray, so early as the reign of Henry VI. About this time, on the failure of male heirs, two heiresses carried the family estates by marriage to Bonython of Carclew, and Noye. Pendray fell to the share of Noye, on which estates the family resided for several descents; William Noye, the celebrated attorney general of Charles I. was born here. Burmuhall in this parish, was also another seat belonging to the Noyes, in which it has been said that William Noye was born." [1]

At one time, some of the family held the manor of Amalibria in the parish of Towednack, Cornwall. This was held by Humphrey Noy, Esq., but he conveyed it to his son-in-law Davies. No year is given for this entry. [1]

Early History of the Nigh family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nigh research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1524, 1614, 1568, 1622, 1614, 1647 and 1717 are included under the topic Early Nigh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nigh Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Noyes, Noye, Nye, Nie, Noyers, Noyce, Noise and others.

Early Notables of the Nigh family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Robert Noyes (1524-1614); and his son, Rev. William Noyes (1568-1622), an English clergyman, Rector of Cholderton, Wiltshire. Peter Noyes was an English politician, Member of Parliament for Andover in 1614. Reverend Nicholas Noyes Jr...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nigh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Nigh migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Nigh or a variant listed above were:

Nigh Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Casper Nigh, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1727 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Nigh (post 1700) +

  • William Nigh (1881-1955), American film director, writer, and actor, known for his work in Mr. Wong, Detective (1938), Black Dragons (1942) and The Ape (1940)
  • Donna Nigh (b. 1933), American First Lady of Oklahoma (1979-1987), inductee into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame
  • George Patterson Nigh (b. 1927), American politician and civic leader, 22nd Governor of Oklahoma (1979-1987), 10th Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma (1967-1979), 17th Governor of Oklahoma in 1963
  • Oleta Nigh, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kansas, 1972 [3]
  • George Patterson Nigh (b. 1927), American Democrat politician, Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, 1959-63, 1967-79; Governor of Oklahoma, 1963, 1979-87 [3]


The Nigh Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nuncia pacis oliva
Motto Translation: A message of peace.


  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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