Thornbury History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Thornbury dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in Thornborough found in the counties of Buckinghamshire and North Yorkshire. Thornbury 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 Thornbury were named due to their close proximity to the stream by the thorns.

Early Origins of the Thornbury family

The surname Thornbury 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 Thornbury family

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

Thornbury Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Thornbury have been found, including Thornborough, Thornbury, Thornberry, Thornborrowe, Thornbery, Thornburgh and many more.

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

United States Thornbury migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Thornbury, or a variant listed above:

Thornbury Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Thornbury, aged 20, who arrived in Virginia in 1616 [2]
  • Rich Thornbury, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [2]
  • Richard Thornbury, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [2]
  • Rowland Thornbury, who landed in Virginia in 1696 [2]
Thornbury Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anne Thornbury, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [2]
  • William Thornbury, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [2]
Thornbury Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James and Mary Thornbury, who settled in New England in 1805
  • Js Thornbury, who landed in America in 1805 [2]
  • Mary Thornbury, who arrived in America in 1805 [2]
  • John Thornbury, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1812 [2]
  • William Thornbury, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1855 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Thornbury (post 1700) +

  • John G. Thornbury, American Republican politician, Candidate for West Virginia State House of Delegates from Logan County, 1952, 1960 [3]
  • Caleb N. Thornbury, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 28th District, 1862-63 [3]
  • George Walter Thornbury (1828-1876), English author from London, son of George Thornbury, solicitor, of 16 Chancery Lane
  • Scott Thornbury (b. 1950), New Zealand internationally recognized academic and teacher trainer
  • Thomas Thornbury (b. 1963), retired Canadian professional NHL ice hockey player from Lindsay, Ontario

The Thornbury 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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