Skydamore History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the ancestors of the Skydamore family emigrated to England following the Norman Conquest in 1066 they brought their family name with them. 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 Skydamore family

The surname Skydamore 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 Skydamore family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Skydamore 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 Skydamore History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Skydamore Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Skydamore has been recorded under many different variations, including Scudamore, Scudmore and others.

Early Notables of the Skydamore 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 Skydamore Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Skydamore family to Ireland

Some of the Skydamore 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 Skydamore family

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Skydamores were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: John Scudamore who settled in Virginia in 1654.



The Skydamore 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.


  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.


Houseofnames.com on Facebook