Thorpe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Thorpe is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in the area referred to as the thorp which is the Old English word for village, farmstead or hamlet. [1] The surname Thorpe 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 Thorpe family

The surname Thorpe 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 Thorpe family

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

Thorpe 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. Thorpe has been spelled many different ways, including Thorp, Thorpe, Thropp, Thrupp and others.

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


United States Thorpe migration to the United States +

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 Thorpes to arrive in North America:

Thorpe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Thorpe (1576-1622), English emigrant from Wanswell Court in Gloucestershire to Virginia in March 1620 and rose to become a noted landowner, member of parliament, distiller, educator
  • Christian Thorpe, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Christ Thorpe, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [8]
  • James Thorpe, who settled in Barbados in 1639 with his servants
  • Daniell Thorpe, who arrived in Virginia in 1643 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Thorpe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Catherine Thorpe, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [8]
Thorpe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Levi Thorpe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1858 [8]
  • Joseph Thorpe, aged 6, who landed in New York in 1862 [8]
  • Jane Thorpe, aged 4, who landed in New York in 1862 [8]
  • Elizth Thorpe, aged 45, who landed in New York in 1862 [8]
  • Emma Thorpe, who arrived in New York in 1862 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Thorpe migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Thorpe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Thorpe was a settler at St. John's, Newfoundland in 1814 [9]
  • Miss. Ellen Thorpe, aged 14 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Free Trader" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [10]

Australia Thorpe migration to Australia +

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

Thorpe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Thorpe, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. Edward Thorpe, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Henry Tanner" on 27th June 1834, settling in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. Henry Thorpe who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 4th August 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • John Thorpe, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Rapid" in 1836 [14]
  • Thomas Thorpe a joiner, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1837 [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Thorpe 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:

Thorpe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Thorpe, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1840
  • Joshua Thorpe, who landed in Thames, Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James A. Thorpe, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of the Avon" in 1859
  • Mr. Joseph Thorpe, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Excelsior" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 17th March 1859 [16]
  • Mrs. Thorpe, British settler travelling from Liverpool (Mersey) aboard the ship "Viscount Sandon" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand then Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in 1860 [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Thorpe (post 1700) +

  • James Francis Thorpe (1888-1953), American all round athlete of Native American and European ancestry, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame, two-time Olympic champion
  • George Cyrus Thorpe (1875-1936), United States Marine Corps officer during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War
  • Rollo Smolt "Richard" Thorpe (1896-1991), American film director
  • Richard Jerome "Jerry" Thorpe (b. 1926), American Emmy Award winning television film director and producer, son of Richard Thorpe
  • Chris Thorpe (b. 1970), American luge Olympic athlete
  • Benjamin Thorpe (1782-1870), English Anglo-Saxon scholar
  • George Thorpe (b. 1910), English professional footballer who played for Huddersfield Town (1931-1932)
  • George Thorpe (1834-1899), English first-class cricketer, who played two first-class matches, one for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and another for the All England XI in 1862
  • George Thorpe (1781-1847), English cricketer who played for Nottingham Cricket Club in 1826
  • William Richard "Billy" Thorpe AM (1946-2007), English-born Australian pop / rock singer-songwriter and producer, musician, lead singer for Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • Maurice Thorpe (d. 1942), British Stoker 2nd Class aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [18]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • Roy Bernard Charles Thorpe (d. 1945), British Ordinary Seaman aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [19]
  • Robert Billison Thorpe (d. 1945), British Chief Petty Officer aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [19]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Richard Thorpe (b. 1921), Scottish Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Refrew, Renfrewshire, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [20]
  • Mr. Joseph Thorpe (b. 1921), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Ashton-under-lyne, Manchester, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [20]
  • Mr. George E Thorpe (b. 1915), English Leading Stoker serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [20]


The Thorpe 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.


Suggested Readings for the name Thorpe +

  • 1513 Genealogy of Some Early Families in Grant and Pleasant Districts, Preston County, West Virginia, also the Thorpe Family of Fayette County, Pennsylvania by Edward Thorp King, Facts & Anecdotes of Turnersville, Texas by Laura A. Tharp, Sifting Through the Ashes for the Althorp, Allentharpe, Tharp, Tharpe Family and Connections by Eleanor Davis McSwain.

  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. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  10. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 58)
  11. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/henry-tanner
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  14. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAPID 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Rapid.htm
  15. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) NAVARINO 1837. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837Navarino.htm
  16. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  17. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  18. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  19. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  20. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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