Show ContentsPalfreyman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Palfreyman is rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It was originally a name for someone who worked as a person who worked as the palfreyman, who was in charge of the palfreys or colts. [1] This occupational surname was first derived from the Old French word parfrement which referred to the individual who saddled horses for women. [2] The term palfrey usually referred to the most expensive and highly-bred types of riding horse during the Middle Ages. [3]

One source presumes the family came from Normandy as Richard, Roger Palfrei or Palefridus were listed in Normandy (1180-1195.) [4]

Early Origins of the Palfreyman family

The surname Palfreyman was first found in Hampshire where Hunfridus Palefrei was listed at Winton in 1148. Later Ralph Palefray was listed at Boldon in 1183. [3]

Proving the widespread use of this occupational name, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Thomas Palfrei, Lincolnshire; Richard Palefray, Salop (Shropshire); Gilbert Palfrey, Norfolk; and John Palefrey, Norfolk. [2]

Chaucer in his Knight's Tale notes "And to the paleis rode titer many a route Of lordes, upon stedes and palfreis."

Early History of the Palfreyman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Palfreyman research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1148, 1200, 1321, 1359, 1411, 1586, 1589, 1633, 1636, 1637, 1638, 1651, 1662, 1665, 1667, 1668 and 1685 are included under the topic Early Palfreyman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Palfreyman Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Palfreyman are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Palfreyman include Palfrey, Palfry, Palfreyer, Palfreyman and others.

Early Notables of the Palfreyman family

Notables of the family at this time include

  • Thomas Palfreyman (died 1589?) was an English author and musician...
  • John Parkhurst, the Bishop of Norwich, addressed an epigram to Palfreyman and Robert Couch conjointly, and complimented them on their proficiency alike in music and theology...
  • Palfreyman seems to have lived in the parish of St...

Ireland Migration of the Palfreyman family to Ireland

Some of the Palfreyman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Palfreyman migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Palfreyman or a variant listed above:

Palfreyman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Arthur Palfreyman, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1873 [5]

Australia Palfreyman migration to Australia +

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

Palfreyman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Palfreyman, (b. 1811), aged 22, English ploughman who was convicted in Derby, Derbyshire, England for life for house robbery, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 27th April 1833, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1855 [6]
  • Mr. Alfred James Palfreyman, English convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Palfreyman (post 1700) +

  • George Palfreyman, American head football coach for the Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats (1916-1917)
  • David Palfreyman (b. 1966), English actor, musician, songwriter and poet
  • Mr. Stephen Palfreyman M.B.E., British Major for Royal Corps of Signals for Army Reserve, recipient of Member of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018 [8]
  • Nigel Palfreyman (b. 1973), former Australian rules footballer
  • Stewart Palfreyman (b. 1948), former Australian rules footballer
  • Brent Avis Hardcastle Palfreyman (b. 1945), former Australian first-class cricketer, active 1966 through 1972

HMS Royal Oak
  • Joseph Smith Palfreyman (d. 1939), British Stoker 2nd Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [9]


  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  8. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists
  9. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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