Show ContentsSkidmore History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Skidmore family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They 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." 1

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. " 1

Early Origins of the Skidmore family

The surname Skidmore 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 2, and had sub-enfeofifed Waleran de Scudimore and Walter Gififord. He also held four fees of ancient enfeoffment from Robert D'Evias of Hereford." 3

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. 4

"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." 1

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. 5

"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." 6

Early History of the Skidmore family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Skidmore research. Another 120 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1409, 1542, 1568, 1571, 1574, 1599, 1601, 1603, 1619, 1623, 1624, 1634, 1635, 1636, 1638, 1639, 1642, 1650, 1661, 1664, 1666, 1668, 1669, 1671, 1673, 1679, 1684, 1697, 1705, 1715 and 1716 are included under the topic Early Skidmore History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Skidmore Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Scudamore, Scudmore and others.

Early Notables of the Skidmore family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Sir James Scudamore (also spelled Skidmore, Skidmur or Skidmuer) (1568-1619), a gentleman usher at the court of Queen Elizabeth

Skidmore Ranking

In the United States, the name Skidmore is the 2,645th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. 7

Ireland Migration of the Skidmore family to Ireland

Some of the Skidmore 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 Skidmore migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Skidmore or a variant listed above were:

Skidmore Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Augustine Skidmore, who landed in Virginia in 1638 8
  • Thomas Skidmore, who arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1643 8
  • Mary Skidmore, who landed in Maryland in 1658 8
  • Henry Skidmore, who arrived in Maryland in 1670 8
Skidmore Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. W E Skidmore, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860 8

Australia Skidmore migration to Australia +

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

Skidmore Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Mark Skidmore, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Canada" on 23rd April 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 9
  • Mr. George Skidmore who was convicted in Lewes, Sussex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Clara" on 19th March 1857, arriving in Western Australia, Australia 10
  • Mr. William Skidmore, (b. 1836), aged 27, Cornish agricultural labourer departing from Soton on 5th May 1863 aboard the ship "Caduceus" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 1st July 1863 11
  • Mrs. Mary Skidmore, (b. 1832), aged 31, Cornish settler departing from Soton on 5th May 1863 aboard the ship "Caduceus" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 1st July 1863 11
  • Miss Kate Skidmore, (b. 1862), aged 1, Cornish settler departing from Soton on 5th May 1863 aboard the ship "Caduceus" arriving in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 1st July 1863 11

New Zealand Skidmore 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:

Skidmore Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Skidmore, who landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1843
  • Mr. Samuel Skidmore, (b. 1850), aged 23, Cornish labourer departing on 16th July 1873 aboard the ship "Adamant" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 17th October 1873 12
  • Mr. William H. Skidmore, (b. 1850), aged 23, Cornish brickmaker departing on 16th July 1873 aboard the ship "Adamant" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 17th October 1873 12

Contemporary Notables of the name Skidmore (post 1700) +

  • Walter Dennis Skidmore (1903-1993), American basketball coach
  • Paul Skidmore (b. 1956), American retired professional NHL ice hockey player
  • Hubert Skidmore (1909-1946), American novelist
  • Louis Skidmore (1897-1962), American architect, recipient of the AIA Gold Medal
  • Kelly Skidmore, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Florida, 2008 13
  • John I. Skidmore, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Queens County, 1797-1801 13
  • Hoy B. Skidmore, American Democratic Party politician, Chair of Lewis County Democratic Party, 1955 13
  • Harry E. Skidmore, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Chenango County, 1922 13
  • Hamilton Skidmore, American politician, Postmaster at Leadsville, Virginia, 1847-48 13
  • Earl N. Skidmore, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Colorado, 1960 13
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Skidmore 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.

Suggested Readings for the name Skidmore +

  • The Scudamores of Upton, Scudmore: a Knightly Family in Medieval Wiltshire, 1086-1382 by Warren Skidmore.
  • Skidmore: Rickmansworth, England-Delaware-North Carolina and West by Warren Skidmore.
  • Thomas Skidmore (Scudamore), 1605-1684, of Westerleigh, Gloucestshire, and Fairfield, Connecticut by Warren Skidmore.

  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. Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
  3. 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)
  4. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. 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)
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from
  10. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 11th February 2021 from
  11. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  12. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from
  13. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from on Facebook