Nosseworthey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Nosseworthey. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Nosseworthey family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames 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. The name Nosseworthey is a local type of surname and the Nosseworthey 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 Nosseworthey family

The surname Nosseworthey 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 Nosseworthey family

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

Nosseworthey 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 Nosseworthey family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Nosseworthey family

An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Nosseworthey or a variant listed above: 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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