Show ContentsNosworthy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Atlantic Ocean to the north and west and the English Channel to the south borders Cornwall, the homeland to the Nosworthy family name. Even though the usage of surnames was common during the Middle Ages, all English people were known only by a single name in early times. 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 Nosworthy 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 Nosworthy family

The surname Nosworthy 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 Nosworthy family

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

Nosworthy 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 Nosworthy family (pre 1700)

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

United States Nosworthy migration to the United States +

The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Nosworthy:

Nosworthy Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tristrum and Ann Nosworthy, who arrived in Virginia in 1639
  • Ann Nosworthy, who arrived in Virginia in 1639 [6]
  • Joan Nosworthy, who settled in Virginia in 1664
  • Edw. Nosworthy, who was on record in Virginia in 1666

Australia Nosworthy migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Nosworthy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mary Nosworthy, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "British Empire" [7]
  • Mary Nosworthy, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1850 [7]

New Zealand Nosworthy 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:

Nosworthy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • R. D. Nosworthy, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • Mary J. Nosworthy, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884

Contemporary Notables of the name Nosworthy (post 1700) +

  • Blanche Nosworthy, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1972 [8]
  • Nyron Paul Henry Nosworthy (b. 1980), English-born, Jamaican international football player
  • Leo Nosworthy (1927-2021), Australian rugby league footballer who played in the 1940s and 1950s
  • David Owen Nosworthy (b. 1967), South African former cricketer
  • Lieutenant General Sir Francis Poitiers Nosworthy KCB DSO MC (1887-1971), British Army officer, Commander-in-Chief of West Africa Command during World War II
  • William Nosworthy (1867-1946), New Zealand politician, 23rd Minister of Finance (1925-1926), 4th Minister of External Affairs (1926-1928), 8th Minister of Agriculture (1919-1926)
  • David Nosworthy (b. 1967), New Zealand cricket coach

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Richard Cater Nosworthy (d. 1912), aged 21, English Third Class passenger from Newton Abbot, Devon who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [9]

  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. 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)
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BRITISH EMPIRE 1850. Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, April 1) . Retrieved from
  9. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook