Show ContentsSherburne History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Sherburne comes from the family having resided in Sherborn, found in the counties of Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Warwickshire, Durham, Lancashire and Yorkshire. The surname Sherburne is a toponymic surname that was originally derived from the Old English word scir, meaning bright and burna simply meaning stream.

Early Origins of the Sherburne family

The surname Sherburne was first found in Dorset where they held a family seat from early times at Sherborne, a market town that dates back to Saxon times. In 864, it was listed as Scireburnan and later as Scireburne in the Domesday Book. The name literally means "place at the bright or clear stream" [1] referring to the adjacent River Yeo. One of the first records there was Wulfsige, a medieval Bishop of Sherborne (c. 885-896.)

Historically, Sherborne was the capital of Wessex, one of the seven Saxon kingdoms of England. Sherborne Castle was built in 1594 by Sir Walter Raleigh on the grounds of the ruined old palace built in the 12th century. The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin at Sherborne, or colloquially called Sherborne Abbey was originally a Saxon cathedral (705-1075), then a Benedictine abbey (998-1539), and more recently and after the Dissolution of the Monasteries a parish church.

The parish of Mitton in the West Riding of Yorkshire played an important role in the family's lineage. "It was for many generations chiefly the property of the Sherburnes, of whom Sir John de Sherburne attended Edward III. at the siege of Calais. Stonyhurst, the seat of the family, now occupied as a Roman Catholic college, was probably commenced by Sir Richard Sherburne, who died in 1594, and completed by his son in 1596." [2]

"The Sherburnes of Stonyhurst in Lancashire, claimed descent from 'a grandson of Geoffrey L'Arbalestrier (or Galfridus Balistrarius) named Robert de Shyrburne, to whom, temp. Richard I., John Earl of Morton, gave six carucates of land in Haconsall and Preesall. Robert had the manor of Hameldon by gift of his grandfather, and survived to 45 Hen. II.' " [3]

Early History of the Sherburne family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sherburne research. Another 223 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1794, 1660, 1505, 1686, 1717, 1453, 1536, 1494, 1496, 1499, 1505, 1508, 1536, 1536, 1508, 1536, 1505, 1509, 1494, 1496, 1496, 1505, 1499, 1505, 1520 and 1909 are included under the topic Early Sherburne History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sherburne Spelling Variations

Sherburne has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Sherborne, Sherburn, Sherburne, Sherbourne, Sherbon and many more.

Early Notables of the Sherburne family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Robert Sherborne (c. 1453-1536), English cleric, Archdeacon of Huntingdon (1494-1496), Dean of St. Paul's (1499-1505); Bishop of Chichester from 1508 to 1536; Sir Richard Sherborne the noted historian; and Robert Sherborne (died 1536), English...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sherburne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sherburne Ranking

In the United States, the name Sherburne is the 14,483rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

United States Sherburne migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Sherburnes to arrive on North American shores:

Sherburne Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Sherburne (1615-1693), who arrived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1632 aboard the Jane with his brother Henry Sherburne
  • Henry Sherburne (1611–1680), who arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire June 12, 1632 from London with his brother John Sherburne
  • William Sherburne, who arrived in Portsmouth, NH in 1644 [5]
  • George Sherburne settled with his wife Rebecca in New England in 1650 with eight children
  • George Sherburne, who arrived in Portsmouth in 1650 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Sherburne Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry A. Sherburne, aged 22, who arrived in America, in 1893
Sherburne Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • J. H. Sherburne, aged 58, who arrived in America, in 1906
  • Mrs. Lena Sherburne, aged 27, who arrived in America in 1907
  • John H. Sherburne, aged 60, who arrived in America in 1908
  • George H. Sherburne, aged 28, who arrived in America, in 1908
  • Bernice Sherburne, aged 29, who arrived in America, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Sherburne (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General John Henry Sherburne (b. 1877), American Acting Adjutant-General of Massachusetts (1942-1943) [6]
  • Jane C. Sherburne, American lawyer and businesswoman, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel to The Bank of New York Mellon
  • Bobby Sherburne (b. 1980), American Major League Baseball player
  • Adam Sherburne, American former lead guitarist, vocalist, and music director
  • Philip Sherburne, American journalist, musician and DJ
  • John Samuel Sherburne (1757-1830), United States Senator and federal judge from New Hampshire
  • Brigadier-General Onslow Sherburne Rolfe (1895-1985), American Deputy Chief of Staff, Army Forces Far East (1953-1954) [7]
  • John Sherburne Sleeper (1794-1878), American sailor, ship master and novelist, 6th Mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts
  • Louis Sherburne Cox (b. 1874), American Republican politician, Superior Court Judge in Massachusetts, 1918-37; Justice of Massachusetts State Supreme Court, 1937-40 [8]
  • Sherburne Wesley Burnham (1838-1921), American astronomer

The Sherburne 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: Nec timere, nec timide
Motto Translation: Neither rashly nor timidly.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) John Sherburne. Retrieved from
  7. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Onslow Rolfe. Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from on Facebook