Thornberry History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Thornberry comes from when the family resided in Thornborough found in the counties of Buckinghamshire and North Yorkshire. Thornberry 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 Thornberry were named due to their close proximity to the stream by the thorns.

Early Origins of the Thornberry family

The surname Thornberry 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 Thornberry family

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

Thornberry Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Thornberry include Thornborough, Thornbury, Thornberry, Thornborrowe, Thornbery, Thornburgh and many more.

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

United States Thornberry migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Thornberry Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Daniel and Edward Thornberry, who settled in Barbados in 1717
Thornberry Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Susan Thornberry, who landed in New York, NY in 1815 [2]
  • Hugh Henry Thornberry, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [2]
  • William Thornberry, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1878 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Thornberry (post 1700) +

  • Terence Patrick Thornberry, American criminologist, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland (2012-)
  • Nancy A. Thornberry (b. 1992), American chemist and CEO at Kallyope Inc; in 1992, she identified the first caspase, Caspase-1/Interleukin-1 converting enzyme (ICE)
  • Michael Thornberry (b. 1972), United States Army officer who competed in the 1996 Olympic Games in Team Handball
  • David Ritchie Thornberry (1911-1995), American prelate, 6th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming from 1969 to 1977
  • William "Mac" Thornberry (b. 1958), American politician, U.S. Representative from Texas (1995–present), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee (2015-)
  • William Homer Thornberry (1909-1995), American politician and jurist, U.S. Representative from Texas (1945–1963), Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1978-1995)
  • William McClellan Thornberry (b. 1958), American Republican politician, Legislative counsel to U.S. Rep. Thomas G. Loeffler, 1983-85; Chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Larry Combest, 1985-88; U.S. Representative from Texas 13th District, 1995- [3]
  • J. Ray Thornberry, American politician, Mayor of Iowa City, Iowa, 1960 [3]
  • Fred D. Thornberry, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Texas 8th District, 1996 [3]
  • D. W. Thornberry, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 1900 [3]
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Thornberry 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.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, August 18) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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