Norrish History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Norrish begins in the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It was a name for a person from the north. The surname is usually derived from the Anglo-French words noreis and norreis, which both mean northerner. [1] Occasionally, Norrish is an occupational name for a nurse; in this case, the derivation is from the Old French word norrice, which means nurse. Lastly, the surname Norrish is sometimes a local surname for a "dweller at the north house." [2]

Early Origins of the Norrish family

The surname Norrish was first found in Hampstead Norreys (Hampstead Norris), a village and civil parish in Berkshire. Dating back to the Domesday Book, where it was listed as Hanstede [3], the village is today still noted for its Norman parish church and the remains of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle nearby.

"Petrus Norreis" is found in the Norman Exchequer Rolls, about 1198, and several of the name in England at the same date. [4] "Henry le Norreys was seized of estates in Nottinghamshire, which on his death King John granted to Alan le Norreys, his brother." [5]

Another noted source claims: "Their undoubted ancestor was Richard de Norreys, the favourite cook of Henry III.'s Queen, Eleanor of Provence, who was rewarded in 1267 by a grant of the manor of Ocholt in Berk­shire, "subject to a fee farm rent of 40s., and stated to have been an encroach­ment from the forest." [6]

The village of Hampstead Norreys changed its name to Hampstede Norreys, when the Norreys family bought the manor in 1448. A branch of the family was found in Speke, Lancashire where at one time they held Speke Hall. "The Norris family had, however, before this begun to acquire lands in the township, Alan le Norreys of Speke being apparently the first to do so. A younger son of Alan, John le Norreys, established himself at Woolton. John's elder son John, who succeeded, is mentioned in the settlement made by Sir Henry le Norreys in 1367." [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include an entry for Thomas le Noreis, but no county was given. The Writs of Parliament list Walter le Noreis, 1313 and again, no county was recorded. [7]

In the 14th century, some of the family were found in West Derby, Lancashire. "The Norris family had an estate here in the fourteenth century, acquired by William, a younger son of John le Norreys of Speke. It descended in the fifteenth century to Thomas Norris, whose daughter and heir Lettice married her distant cousin Thomas Norris of Speke, and so carried the estate back to the parent stock. One of their grandsons, William Norris, was settled here, his estate remaining with his descendants to the end of the seventeenth century. The family remained constant to the Roman Church and had to face loss and suffering in consequence, especially during the Commonwealth; thus the threat of a fresh outbreak of persecution as a result of the Oates plot appears to have broken the resolution of 'Mr. Norris of Derby,' who conformed to the legally established religion in 1681. Norris Green is supposed to indicate the site of their estate." [4]

"From the de Erneys it came, also by marriage, to the family of Norres, of whom was Sir William Norres, who brought from the palace of Holyrood, at Edinburgh, part of the royal library and some curious pieces of fine oak wainscot, to Speke Hall: this mansion was re-erected by Sir Edward Norres. The family retained the manor until the 18th century, when their heiress married Lord Sidney Beauclerk, fifth son of Charles, Duke of St. Alban's; whose grandson, Charles George, sold Speke to the Watt family. The great hall is very lofty, with wainscot and a ceiling of oak, and having a mantelpiece brought from Holyrood: at each angle of the southern wall, within the court, are two spacious corbelled windows, one of which lights the hall. The house was originally surrounded by a moat, of which the outlines remain, and over which a bridge leads to the principal entrance. The whole forms a highly interesting specimen of old English domestic architecture." [8]

Early History of the Norrish family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Norrish research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1481, 1564, 1777, 1405, 1450, 1433, 1507, 1525, 1601, 1572, 1579, 1622, 1622, 1603, 1658, 1702, 1670, 1749, 1675, 1711, 1671, 1735, 1724, 1575, 1584, 1597, 1599 and are included under the topic Early Norrish History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Norrish 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 Norrish 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 Norrish include: Norreys, Norris, Norres, Norrice, Norrish and others.

Early Notables of the Norrish family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Lady Alice Norreys (c. 1405-1450), an English Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; Sir William Norreys (1433-1507), a famous Lancastrian soldier, and later an Esquire of the Body to King Edward IV; Henry Norris "Norreys" (1525-1601), created 1st Baron Norreys in 1572; Francis Norris (1579-1622), 2nd Baron Norreys, who was made Earl of Berkshire and Viscount Thame in 1622, one day...
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Norrish Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Norrish family to Ireland

Some of the Norrish family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 147 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Norrish 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 Norrish or a variant listed above:

Norrish Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Norrish, who arrived in Maryland in 1665 [9]
Norrish Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George J Norrish, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1867 [9]

New Zealand Norrish migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Norrish Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Norrish, (b. 1837), aged 22, English labourer, from Devon travelling from London aboard the ship "Robert Small" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 29th January 1860 [10]
  • Richard Norrish, aged 36, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Mary Ann Norrish, aged 42, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Emily J. Norrish, aged 7, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Francis G. Norrish, aged 5, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Norrish (post 1700) +

  • Ronald George Wreyford Norrish FRS (1897-1978), British chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1967
  • John F. Norrish, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 20th District, 1876; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1876 [11]
  • Nora Norrish, British former female international table tennis player who represented England as part of the women's team for the 1934 Corbillon Cup
  • Alison Ruth M. Norrish (b. 1968), British bronze and silver medalist rowing coxswain at the 1986 Commonwealth Games
  • Roderick "Rod" Norrish (b. 1951), Canadian professional ice hockey player from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who played 21 games in the National Hockey League from the Minnesota North Stars from 1968-1977)
  • Jason Norrish (b. 1972), Australian rules footballer who played as a defensive midfielder
  • Merwyn Norrish CNZM (1926-2021), New Zealand diplomat, New Zealand’s Ambassador to the European Community, Ambassador to the United States, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs

The Norrish 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: Feythfully serve
Motto Translation: Faithfully serve

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. ^ 'Townships: Scarisbrick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1907), pp. 265-276. British History Online [accessed 21 January 2017].
  5. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  6. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 18) . Retrieved from on Facebook