Rochford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Norman Conquest of Ireland lead by Strongbow introduced the first non-Gaelic elements into Irish nomenclature. These Anglo-Normans brought some traditions to Ireland that were not readily found within Gaelic system of hereditary surnames. One of the best examples of this is the local surname. Local surnames, such as Rochford, were taken from the name of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. These surnames were very common in England, but were almost non-existent within Ireland previous to the Conquest. The earliest surnames of this type came from Normandy, but as the Normans moved, they often created names in reference to where they actually resided. Therefore, some settlers eventually took names from Irish places. Originally, these place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname, if the place name began with a vowel, or was eliminated entirely. The Rochford family originally lived in either of the settlements called Rochford in the English counties of Essex and Worcestershire. In fact, the family gave its name to Stoke Rochford in Lincolnshire and held other lands in Warwickshire, Hertfordshire and Yorkshire. [1]

The Rochfords of County Cork were originally surnamed de Ridlesford. Their name became Rochford or Rockford through a mistranslation of the Gaelic form of the name. [2]

Early Origins of the Rochford family

The surname Rochford was first found in counties Meath and Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh), the former Kingdom of Osraige (Ossory), located in Southeastern Ireland in the province of Leinster, where they had been granted lands by Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, during the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172. [2]

"The Irish family settled in that country at, or soon after, the Anglo-Norman invasion. Their name was Latinized De Rupe Forti, 'of the strong rock,' which is doubtless its true meaning." [3]

Another source provides more details: "the family, descended from the Norman Rochford, styled in old deeds and writings, De Rupe forti, was established in Ireland at the time of, or soon after, the first invasion of the English, for so early as 27th Henry III., we find Sir Richard de Rochfort, and John de Rochfort, Lords of Crom and Adare. In 1302, Sir Maurice Rochfort was Lord Justice of Ireland." [4]

The reader should note that while the lion's share of the family claim Ireland as their original homeland, some stayed in England. By example, the Feet of Fines for Northumberland include a listing for Waleram de Rocheforde in 1198. [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Guido de Rocheford, London; and Eustace de Rocheford, Essex. [6]

"King Henry Henry II gave the manor of Rochford's Hall, with the estate, to a family hence surnamed De Rochford, descended from Pagan, second son of Eustace Fitz John. Pagan was Lord of Ewyas in 1136. His son was Guy de Rochford." [1]

Early History of the Rochford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rochford research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1224, 1194, 1652, 1727, 1690 and 1652 are included under the topic Early Rochford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rochford Spelling Variations

During an investigation of the origin of each name, it was found that church officials and medieval scribes spelled many surnames as they sounded. Therefore, during the lifetime of a single person, a name could be spelt numerous ways. Some of the spelling variations for the name Rochford include Rockford, Rockfort, Rochfort, Rochefort, Roakfort, Roakford, Rochford, Rocheford, Roachford, Roachfort, Rockfurd, Rockfurt, Ruckford, Ruckfort, Rucford and many more.

Early Notables of the Rochford family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Simon Rochfort (died 1224), English bishop of Meath, appointed by Pope Innocent III. He was the first Englishman who held that see, to which he was consecrated in 1194. He was one of the judges appointed by Innocent III in the famous suit for possession of the body of Hugh de Lacy...
Another 61 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rochford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Rochford migration to the United States +

A great number of Irish families left their homeland in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia and North America. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation. They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty, starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing the name Rochford:

Rochford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Rochford, who landed in Maryland in 1677 [7]
  • Dennis Rochford, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1682 [7]
  • Dennis Rochford settled with his wife, Marie and daughters, Grace and Mary, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1682
  • Denis Rochford, his wife Mary and two children, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1682
  • Mary Rochford, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1682 [7]
Rochford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Rochford, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [7]
  • Walter Rochford, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 [7]
  • Francis Rochford, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [7]
  • Michael Rochford who settled in New York in 1845

Canada Rochford migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Rochford Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Rochford, who settled in Canada in 1840

Australia Rochford migration to Australia +

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

Rochford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Margaret Rochford, (b. 1795), aged 23, Irish convict who was convicted in Cork, Ireland for 7 years for shop lifting, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" on 26th July 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Eleanor Rochford, aged 31, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Glentanner" [9]

New Zealand Rochford 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:

Rochford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Rochford, aged 20, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hudson" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Rochford (post 1700) +

  • Michael Joseph Rochford (b. 1963), American former Major League Baseball relief pitcher
  • Edward V. Rochford, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 2008
  • Dennis J. Rochford, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 7th District, 1980
  • Bernard Rochford (b. 1978), Irish sportsperson
  • Mrs. Diane Mary Rochford O.B.E., British Executive Headteacher for John F Kennedy Special School and Chair for Rochford Review, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Education [10]
  • Leonard Henry "Tich" Rochford DSC & Bar, DFC (1893-1986), English World War I Flying Ace credited with twenty-nine victories
  • Dr. Andrew Rochford (b. 1979), Australian television personality, best known for his role on the health show What's Good For You
  • William "Bill" Rochford (1913-1984), English member of the Portsmouth team that won the 1939 FA Cup

The Rochford Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Candor dat viribus alas
Motto Translation: Truth gives wings to strength.

  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, The Surnames of Ireland. Ireland: Irish Academic Press, sixth edition, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2366-3)
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd March 2022). Retrieved from
  9. ^ South Australia Passengerlists (Retrieved 10th November 2010). Retrieved from
  10. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook