Tunstell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Tunstell name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided 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 Tunstell family

The surname Tunstell 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 Tunstell family

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

Tunstell Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Tunstell include Tonstall, Tunstall and others.

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


United States Tunstell migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Tunstell or a variant listed above:

Tunstell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ed Tunstell, who arrived in Virginia in 1660 [7]


The Tunstell 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. ^ 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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook