Thorp History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Thorp comes from the family having resided in the area referred to as the thorp which is the Old English word for village, farmstead or hamlet. [1] The surname Thorp is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel. In this case the place-name Thorpe was found in various locations in England.

Early Origins of the Thorp family

The surname Thorp was first found in Yorkshire, Surrey, Essex, Lincolnshire, Durham and other locations throughout Britain. The Domesday Book of 1086 lists six locations in Britain all having the spelling Torp. [2] "The Thorps of Ryton, county Durham, as said to be descended from Robert Thorpe, of Thorpe, near Wellwyke, in Holderness, who flourished in the reign of King John. " [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1237 lists: Adam de la Throppe in Wiltshire; Augustinus de Thorpe in Suffolk; and Warin de Thorpe in Cambridgeshire. [4]

The Pipe Rolls of Northumberland list William de Torp in 1158 and the Assize Rolls of Cheshire in 1287 list Robert be Thorp. The Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland (Cumbria) list Jak de Thorp in 1332. [5] Another branch of the family was found at Thorpe in Surrey in later years.

"The manor appears to have been held under the abbots of Chertsey in the 15th century, by a family named Thorpe: after the Dissolution, Queen Elizabeth granted the lands to Sir John Wolley, her Latin secretary." [6]

One of the first on record was Robert de Thorpe ( fl. 1290), an English judge, who "appears to have been head of an ancient family residing at Thorpe Thewles, near Stockton, Durham, and to have descended from Geoffrey de Torp, who in 1166 held that estate of the bishopric of Durham as half a knight's fee." [7]

John de Thorpe (d. 1324), Baron Thorpe, was an English judge, apparently son of Robert de Thorpe of North Creak and Ashwell-Thorpe, Norfolk. "By his wife Maud, [he] came of a family of wealth and importance in Norfolk and Suffolk. His son, Robert de Thorpe or Thorp (1294?-1330), Baron de Thorpe, was also a judge and was thirty years old at his father's death. " [7]

Early History of the Thorp family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thorp research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1361, 1346, 1350, 1565, 1655, 1407, 1569, 1595 and 1665 are included under the topic Early Thorp History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thorp Spelling Variations

Thorp has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Thorp, Thorpe, Thropp, Thrupp and others.

Early Notables of the Thorp family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir William de Thorpe (died 1361), an English lawyer, and Chief Justice of the King's Bench from 26 November 1346 to 26 October 1350; John Thorpe (1565-1655), English architect; William Thorpe, putative author of "The Testimony of...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thorp Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Thorp migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Thorps to arrive on North American shores:

Thorp Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Thorp settled with her daughter Elizabeth in Rhode Island in 1635
  • Elizabeth Thorp, aged 20, who arrived at Providence, Rhode Island in 1635 [8]
  • William Thorp, who settled in Boston in 1637
  • Thomas Thorp, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [8]
Thorp Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Thorp, who landed in New York, NY in 1754 [8]
Thorp Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Thorp, who landed in America in 1809 [8]
  • Issachar Thorp, who landed in America in 1809 [8]
  • Sara Thorp and her husband and two children settled in New York in 1820
  • John Thorp, who arrived in New York in 1844 [8]
  • Roderick Thorp, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Thorp migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Thorp Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Ann Thorp, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. John Thorp U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he became a Freeman in 1785 was a Blacksmith [9]

Australia Thorp migration to Australia +

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

Thorp Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Thorp, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia [10]

New Zealand Thorp 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:

Thorp Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Thorp, aged 21, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1842

Contemporary Notables of the name Thorp (post 1700) +

  • James S. Thorp (1937-2018), American electrical engineer, head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech
  • Herbert Holden Thorp (b. 1964), American chemist, inventor, musician and professor, the 10th Chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Thomas J. "Tom" Thorp (1882-1942), American football player and coach and sports writer
  • Roderick Mayne Thorp Jr. (1936-1999), American novelist, best known for his bestselling novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which was the basis for the film Die Hard (1988) starring Bruce Willis
  • Prescott Holden Thorp (1887-1981), American stamp dealer and philatelist, inducted into the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame in 1989
  • John Willard Thorp (1912-1992), American aeronautical engineer who designed numerous aircrafts including the Thorp T-211, T-1, through T-11, T-111 and many more
  • Roderick Mayne Thorp Jr. (1936-1999), American novelist
  • Prescott Holden Thorp (1887-1981), American stamp dealer
  • Dr. Edward Oakley Thorp (b. 1932), American mathematics professor and author, known as the "father of wearable computer", his book "Beat the Dealer" (1962) proved that people could beat the blackjack dealer by card counting
  • Charles Thorp (1783-1862), English clergyman, Archdeacon of Durham, 1st Warden of the University of Durham (1832-1862)
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Thorp 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: Super antiquas vias
Motto Translation: Upon the ancient tracks.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  10. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1826 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1826


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