Thornbarrow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Thornbarrow is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived in Thornborough found in the counties of Buckinghamshire and North Yorkshire. Thornbarrow is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. During the Middle Ages, as society became more complex, individuals needed a way to be distinguishable from others. Toponymic surnames were developed as a result of this need. Various features in the landscape or area were used to distinguish people from one another. In this case the surname was originally derived from the Old English thorn broc which means that the original bearers of the surname Thornbarrow were named due to their close proximity to the stream by the thorns.

Early Origins of the Thornbarrow family

The surname Thornbarrow was first found in Cumberland where they held a family seat at Selsheyd (now known as Selside.) This chapelry, in the parish, union, and ward of Kendal is now in the county of Westmorland. "The chapel, dedicated to St. Thomas, was erected in lieu of a more ancient edifice, about 1720, by the inhabitants, on a site given by William Thornburgh, Esq.; and was rebuilt on an enlarged scale in 1837, at an expense of about £600." [1]

Early History of the Thornbarrow family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thornbarrow research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1313, 1391, 1394, 1401, 1414, 1401, 1404, 1416, 1419, 1563, 1593, 1551, 1641, 1593, 1603, 1617, 1588 and 1603 are included under the topic Early Thornbarrow History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thornbarrow Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Thornbarrow has been spelled many different ways, including Thornborough, Thornbury, Thornberry, Thornborrowe, Thornbery, Thornburgh and many more.

Early Notables of the Thornbarrow family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir John Thornbury; and Walter de Thornbury (died 1313), an English-born statesman and cleric probably born in Herefordshire who held the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland. William Thornburgh was Member of Parliament for Westmorland in 1391, 1394, 1401 and 1414. Roland Thornburgh was Member of Parliament for Westmorland in 1401, 1404, 1416 and 1419. Edward Thornborough (born c.1563) was an English politician, Member...
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thornbarrow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Thornbarrow family

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Thornbarrows to arrive in North America: Widow Thornbrugh who settled in Barbados in 1680 with three children and servants; George Thornburgh settled in Barbados with his servants in 1680; James and Mary Thornbury settled in New England in 1805.



The Thornbarrow 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: Spectemur agendo
Motto Translation: Let us be judged by our acts


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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