Noseworthy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Noseworthy history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Noseworthy history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Noseworthy 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 Noseworthy family

The surname Noseworthy 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 Noseworthy family

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

Noseworthy 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 Noseworthy family (pre 1700)

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


United States Noseworthy migration to the United States +

Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Noseworthy or a variant listed above:

Noseworthy Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Charles Austin P. Noseworthy, aged 0, who immigrated to America from Cardiff, Wales, in 1911
  • Laura Gladys Noseworthy, aged 25, who landed in America from Cardiff, Wales, in 1911

Canada Noseworthy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Noseworthy Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Noseworthy who settled at Bread and Cheese (now known as Bishop's) Cove, Newfoundland in 1765
Noseworthy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John and Mary Noseworthy, who were both on record in the census of Ontario, Canada of 1871
  • N. Noseworthy, aged 13, who arrived at Newfoundland, in 1893
Noseworthy Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • A. Noseworthy, aged 28, who arrived at Halifax Nova Scotia, in 1903
  • Jessie Noseworthy, aged 18, who arrived at St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1907
  • Mary Noseworthy, aged 16, who arrived at St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1907
  • Minnie Noseworthy, aged 5, who arrived at Manuels, Newfoundland, in 1910
  • Harrison Noseworthy, aged 3, who arrived at Manuels, Newfoundland, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Noseworthy (post 1700) +

  • John Harnett Noseworthy M.D. (b. 1951), American neurologist, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mayo Clinic from 2009 to 2018
  • Jack Noseworthy (b. 1969), American actor, known for his roles in Event Horizon (1997), Surrogates (2009) and U-571 (2000)
  • Joseph W Noseworthy (1888-1956), Newfoundland born, Canadian politician, Member of the Canadian Parliament for York South (1949-1956)
  • Frederick "Fred" Noseworthy (1871-1942), Newfoundland track and field athlete who represented Canada at the 1908 Summer Olympics
  • John Noseworthy, Canadian politician, Auditor General of Newfoundland and Labrador (2002-2011)
  • Kelly Noseworthy, Canadian journalist

SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. James Noseworthy (1888-1914), Newfoundlander from Bryant's Cove who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found
  • Mr. Ernest Noseworthy (1880-1914), Newfoundlander from Bryant's Cove who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found


  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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