Show ContentsNorsworthy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Norsworthy family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Norsworthy family originally lived in Devon at the manor of Knaworth, which later became known as Noseworthy, Nosworthy or Norsworthy.

"The Nosworthys are now at home in the Exeter [Devon] district. John Nosworthy was mayor of that city in 1521. Nosworthy is also an old name in the Ashburton district, Notsworthy being a manor in Widecombe." [1]

The name literally means "dweller at a homestead on a neck of land." [2]

Early Origins of the Norsworthy family

The surname Norsworthy 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." [3]

"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." [3]

One source notes that "the suffix -worth is commonly found as -worthy" and accordingly notes that the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 entry for "Walter Noswuth, Wiltshire" is thought to be related to the family. [4]

Devon is the highest source of families migrating to Newfoundland [5] so it should come as no surprise that most contemporaries claim Newfoundland as their homeland.

Early History of the Norsworthy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Norsworthy research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1503, 1730, 1800, 1481, 1530, 1502, 1503 and 1523 are included under the topic Early Norsworthy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Norsworthy 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 Norsworthy family (pre 1700)

Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Norsworthy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Norsworthy Ranking

In the United States, the name Norsworthy is the 9,925th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

United States Norsworthy migration to the United States +

A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Norsworthy:

Norsworthy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Norsworthy, aged 35, who landed in America from Millom, in 1898
Norsworthy Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • O. L. Norsworthy, who immigrated to America, in 1903
  • Alfred A. Norsworthy, aged 27, who settled in America, in 1907
  • Ralph J. A. Norsworthy, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States from Newton Abbot, England, in 1909
  • Claude Norsworthy, aged 19, who immigrated to the United States from Kingston, in 1914
  • Fredrick Norsworthy, aged 41, who landed in America from London, England, in 1917
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Norsworthy (post 1700) +

  • Samuel Norsworthy, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Johnston County, 1809-11 [7]
  • Ronald "Ron" Norsworthy, American video production designer, CEO and founder of The Norsworthy Fund
  • Hubert Henry Norsworthy (1885-1961), English organist and composer from Haverigg, Millom, Cumberland
  • Grant Norsworthy, Australian-born, Grammy-nominated singer and Dove-award winning musician
  • Barry Norsworthy (b. 1951), former Australian rules footballer

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Thomas Norsworthy, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and died in the sinking [8]

  1. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland Montreal: McGill's-Queen's University Press 1998. Print. (ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 18) . Retrieved from
  8. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook