Tunstill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Tunstill name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from 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 Tunstill family

The surname Tunstill 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 Tunstill family

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

Tunstill Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Tunstill has undergone many spelling variations, including Tonstall, Tunstall and others.

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

Migration of the Tunstill family

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Tunstill were among those contributors: Martha Tonstall, who settled in Virginia in 1636; Josh Tunstall, who arrived in America in 1699.


Contemporary Notables of the name Tunstill (post 1700) +

  • Jess Tunstill, American football player, drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1946
  • Bryan Tunstill, English Vice Chairman of Burnley FC Girls & Ladies
  • Harry Tunstill, English wealthy mill owner in Burnley whose daughter Gerturde Adelaide married William Norman Pickles, the first president of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1917
  • Elizabeth Jane Tunstill (1843-1934), British wife of German-born, Carl Oppermann, founder of Carl Oppermann Electric Carriage Co. Ltd. which operated from 1902 to 1907 in Clerkenwell, London


The Tunstill 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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