Skidamore History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Skidamore is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Skidamore family lived in the village of Fifield Scudamore or Upton Scudamore in Wiltshire. This place-name may have been derived from the Old English word scitemor which means one who lived at the moor.
"The Surname of the Scudamores, as their historian tells us, 'was derived from their bearing Scutum Amoris Divitiis, which was antiently their arms, and in all Probability was given upon some gallant Action done by them in Defence of the Christian Faith.' Their Cross patée fitchée, Or [gold] was, however, in course of time exchanged for the arms of the great heiress through whom they were transplanted into Herefordshire. She bore three stirrups leathered and buckled Or." 
While this passage clearly explains the significance of the family motto and thereby the origin of the name, the significance of the change of arms is not really explored. The change from a cross patée fitchée to three stirrups seemed unusual, so much so that "Sir John Scudamore, who held an office at Court, thought it well to recall the memory of the original bearing. " 
Early Origins of the Skidamore family
The surname Skidamore was first found in Wiltshire where the surname could have been derived from one of two villages: Fifield Scudamore; or Upton Scudamore. Fifield Scudamore, also known as Fifield Bavan is a very small village and former civil parish that dates back to 1264 when Peter de Scudamore was Lord of the Manor.
It was later renamed in 1463 as Fiffehyde Beaufaunt when ownership had passed to the Beaufaunt family. The latter village Upton Skidamore, was often spelt Upton Skidmore and by John Sexton's map of Wiltshire in 1610, it was listed simply as Upton.
"The family was first seated in Wiltshire, where Walter de Escudemore was Lord of Upton, near Warminster, in the time of Stephen. 'In 1165 Geoffrey de Scudimore' (perhaps his son) 'was a Baron in Wilts , and had sub-enfeofifed Waleran de Scudimore and Walter Gififord. He also held four fees of ancient enfeoffment from Robert D'Evias of Hereford." 
As far as the family records are concerned, this ancient Norman family held a family seat at Upton Skidamore and at Norton near Warminster, Walter de Scudamore being lord of the former manor in the reign of Stephen. 
"Peter de Schidimore was Sheriff of Dorset and Somerset in 1197 and 1199: and Sir Godfrey Scudamore Sheriff of Wilts in 1258. He married the heiress of Gifford of Brimsfield, and was the father of Sir Peter, 'a man of eminence' who kept great state at Upton, and founded a chantry in the church. His effigy, and that of his wife Margery, remain in the N. aisle, still called Scudamore's Aisle." 
Early rolls show the wide variety of spelling in use in those times: Hugh de Scudimore was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Herefordshire in 1167; Peter de Skidemor c1170 was listed in Glastonbury, Somerset; Geoffrey
Escudemor', Eskidemor' 1242 was found in the Feet of Fines Fees for Wiltshire; Peter de Skydemore 1282 in the Feet of Fines for Cheshire; and Richard Skidmore 1576, in the Subsidy Rolls for Wiltshire. 
"The Skidmores were established in Eyam in the 17th and 18th centuries, where several of them were killed by the plague in 1666, Wiltshire. De Skidemore and Skidemore were Wiltshire names in the 13th century." 
Early History of the Skidamore family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Skidamore research. Another 120 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1409, 1542, 1623, 1574, 1568, 1619, 1601, 1671, 1650, 1697, 1673, 1679, 1684, 1716, 1705 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Skidamore History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Skidamore Spelling Variations
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Scudamore, Scudmore and others.
Early Notables of the Skidamore family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Skydemore of Kentchurch, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1409; Sir John Scudamore, (1542-1623), listed in the Custos Rotulorum of Herefordshire in 1574; Sir James Scudamore (also spelled Skidmore, Skidmur or Skidmuer) (1568-1619), a gentleman usher at the court of Queen Elizabeth I...
Another 52 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Skidamore Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Skidamore family to Ireland
Some of the Skidamore 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.
Migration of the Skidamore family
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Skidamore or a variant listed above: John Scudamore who settled in Virginia in 1654.
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The Skidamore 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: Scuto amoris divini
Motto Translation: By the shield of God’s love.
- ^ 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
- ^ Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
- ^ 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)
- ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.