Tunstall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Tunstall is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family 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 Tunstall family

The surname Tunstall 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 Tunstall family

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

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

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

Tunstall Ranking

In the United States, the name Tunstall is the 7,447th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [7]


United States Tunstall 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 Tunstalls to arrive in North America:

Tunstall Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Tunstall, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [8]
  • Robert Tunstall, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [8]
  • Josh Tunstall, who arrived in America in 1699
Tunstall Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ann Tunstall, who landed in New York in 1835 [8]
  • Edmund Tunstall, who arrived in New York in 1835 [8]
  • James Tunstall, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [8]
  • Mrs. Theo Tunstall, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1893
  • Thomas Tunstall, aged 23, who immigrated to the United States from Maryport, in 1898
Tunstall Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Aaron Tunstall, aged 61, who landed in America, in 1906
  • Esther Hannah Tunstall, aged 24, who settled in America from England, in 1908
  • Fred Tunstall, aged 34, who landed in America from Bolton, England, in 1909
  • John Henry Tunstall, aged 27, who landed in America from Liverpool, England, in 1909
  • Wilfred Tunstall, aged 7, who immigrated to America from Bolton, England, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Tunstall migration to Australia +

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

Tunstall Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Tunstall, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1849 [9]

New Zealand Tunstall 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:

Tunstall Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Agnes Tunstall, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Tunstall (post 1700) +

  • John Henry Tunstall (1853-1878), London-born, American businessman and rancher who was killed on February 18, 1878 when a posse tried to unlawfully seize his lands starting the conflict known as the Lincoln County War
  • Whitmell P. Tunstall (1810-1854), American politician
  • Marmaduke Tunstall (1743-1790), English ornithologist and collector, born in 1743 at Burton Constable, Yorkshire, second son of Cuthbert Constable (who had changed his name from Tunstall on inheriting property in 1718) [10]
  • James Tunstall (1708-1762), English cleric and classical scholar from Richmond, Yorkshire, son of James Tunstall, an attorney at Richmond
  • William Tunstall, English footballer who played in the 1903-1904 season
  • Squadron Leader Peter "Pete" Tunstall (1918-2013), English pilot and famous World War II prisoner of war who escaped four times for which he holds the record for the most time spent by an Allied POW in solitary confinement
  • Fred Tunstall (1897-1971), English footballer
  • Cuthbert Tunstall (1474-1559), English prelate
  • Arthur Tunstall OBE (1922-2016), Australian and international sport administrator, inducted into the Australia Hall of Fame
  • Matthew "Matt" Tunstall, Scottish professional rugby league footballer
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Bertram Tunstall, British 4th Officer from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • Mr. Harry Tunstall, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]


The Tunstall 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
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) NAVARINO 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Navarino.htm
  10. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 Jan. 2019
  11. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


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