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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, German

Where did the English Torr family come from? What is the English Torr family crest and coat of arms? When did the Torr family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Torr family history?

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Tour, Tor, Torr, Torre, Thor, Thore, Thour and others.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Norman influence of English history dominated after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. The family name was first referenced in the 12th century when they held estates in that shire. They were of the great Norman family of Martin de Tours from Tour near Bayeux. The Sire de Tour conquered Cameys in Wales and became the Lord Marcher of South Wales. His sons either took the name FitzMartin or Tour, sometimes Tower. He built the Benedictine Abbey of St.Dogmael's and, of course, his great Castle at Newport, where the ruins still exist. The family was granted vast estates in Devon, Somerset, and Dorset. Torre Abbey is today a historic building and art gallery in Torquay, Devon. It was founded in 1196 as a monastery for Premonstratensian canons.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Torr research. Another 221 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1242, 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Torr History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Torr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Torr Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Hans Georg Torr, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1747

Torr Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Sophia Torr, aged 15, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Hooghly"
  • John Torr, aged 39, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Hooghly"
  • John Torr (c. 1815-1884), from Tavistock, Devon who with his wife Ann, née Green, and family emigrated to Burra, South Australia in 1855

Torr Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Torr landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Birman
  • Joseph Torr, aged 27, a carpenter, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Julia Torr, aged 29, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • William Henry Torr, aged 4, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Thomas Torr, aged 2, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842


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  • Helen Torr (1886-1967), early American Modernist painter in the 1920s
  • Brigadier Alexander George Torr (1907-1952), Deputy Engineer in chief, Australian Military Forces, Army Headquarters in 1945
  • Michèle Torr (b. 1947), born Michelle Cléberte Tortis, a French singer and author
  • William George Torr MA, BCL, LLD, (1853-1939), nicknamed "Old Oxford", a religious educator in South Australia, son of John Torr, the Australian immigrant from Devon to South Australia
  • Sam Torr (1849-1923), British music hall comedian
  • Dona Ruth Anne Torr (1883-1957), British Marxist historian and major influence on the Communist Party Historians Group
  • Diane Marian Torr (b. 1948), Canadian-born, British artist, writer and educator


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  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  11. ...

The Torr Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Torr Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 May 2015 at 09:41.

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