Noseeword History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The illustrious surname Noseeword finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England known as Cornwall. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Noseeword is a local type of surname and the Noseeword family 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 Noseeword family

The surname Noseeword 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 Noseeword family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Noseeword 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 Noseeword History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Noseeword 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 Noseeword family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Noseeword family

An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Noseeword: Tristrum and Ann Nosworthy, who arrived in Virginia in 1639; Joan Nosworthy, who came to Virginia in 1664; Edw. Nosworthy, who was on record in Virginia in 1666.



  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)


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