Tunstale History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Tunstale is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived in Lancashire at Tunstall. The name derived from the Old English "tun-stall," which means "a farm, a farmstead." [1] Townstall, is a parish in Devonshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Tunstale family

The surname Tunstale was first found in Lancashire, at Tunstall, a parish, in the union of Lancaster, hundred of Lonsdale south of the Sands. There are however, at least nine parishes named Tunstall in Britain, but the Lancashire parish is most important. "This is the Tunestalle of the Domesday Survey. It was early held by a family of the local name, a member of which, Sir Bryan Tunstall, was killed in the battle of Flodden-Field, and is called in Sir Walter Scott's Marmion, 'the Stainless Knight.' The family occupied Thurland Castle, a place of great antiquity, restored by the present, proprietor." [3]

In 1402 Sir Thomas Tunstall founded the stone castle, when King Henry IV granted him a licence to crenellate. He also rebuilt the local church. In the Civil War, the castle was almost demolished in the siege of 1643, when being held for the King, by Sir John Girlington. [3]

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide surname spellings in use at that time. Reginald de Tunstall who was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Yorkshire in 1185 is thought to be the first on record. [4] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Hugh de Tonstalle in Kent [5] and Baines' Lancashire lists Henry de Tunstal, Lancashire, 17 Edward II; and William Tunstal, Lancashire, 47 Edward III. [6] Early rolls frequently listed entries based on the year of the reign of the king at the time. By example, 17 Edward II meant in the seventeenth year of King Edward II's reign.

Early History of the Tunstale family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tunstale research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1474, 1559, 1616, 1929, 1644 and 1693 are included under the topic Early Tunstale History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tunstale 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. Tunstale has been spelled many different ways, including Tonstall, Tunstall and others.

Early Notables of the Tunstale family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Cuthbert Tunstall (1474-1559), twice Bishop of Durham, England in the 16th century; Thomas Tunstall (executed 1616), English Roman Catholic priest, Catholic martyr, beatified in 1929. He descended from the Tunstalls of Thurland Castle, who subsequently moved to Scargill, Yorkshire. "The family remained staunch Roman Catholics, and several of...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tunstale Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Tunstale family

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 Tunstales to arrive in North America: Martha Tonstall, who settled in Virginia in 1636; Josh Tunstall, who arrived in America in 1699.



The Tunstale 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: Droit
Motto Translation: Right.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ Baines Thomas & William Fairbairn, Lancashire and Cheshire, Past and Present History of Counties London: William MacKenzie, 1867, Digital, 4 vols


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