Umfre History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Umfre is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Umfre family lived in "Amfreville, in the viscounty of Evereux, which was held by the service of two knights. This family came to England at the Conquest." 
Early Origins of the Umfre family
The surname Umfre was first found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from 1066, when William, Duke of Normandy, granted the forest, valley, and Lordship of Riddesdale, to Sir Robert Umfreville (nicknamed Robert with the Beard,) Lord of Tours and Vian in Normandy.
The family took control of Prudhoe Castle on the south bank of the River Tyne at Prudhoe, Northumberland. "In the reign of King John, we find Richard de Umfraville making 'his whole court at Whelpington' witness to a grant to the monks of Kelso; and the place for some time subsequently continued in this family, of whom Gilbert, in 1267, obtained from Henry III. liberty to hold a weekly market and annual fair here, which privileges, however, remained in force only for a very short period." 
The parish of Monkridge-Ward also held special significance the family. "About the year 1242, Munkeriche was held of Gilbert de Umfraville by Maria de Munkeriche and Roger Dun, by drengage service; in 1398, Maud, widow of Gilbert de Umfraville, died seised of the place." 
"The Umfravilles, a Norman house whose name is derived from Amfreville, between Brionne and Louviers in Normandy, had possessed since the Conquest the liberty of Redesdale in Northumberland, and since Henry I's time the castle of Prudhoe, south of the Tyne, in the same county." 
And a branch of the family was found at Barrasford, again in Northumberland. "At this place, which, with the exception of a small freehold, is the property of the Duke of Northumberland, Robert de Umfraville in 1303 obtained license from Edward I. to hold a market on Wednesdays, and a fair on November 11th, both of which have been discontinued." 
"No Border barons were more constantly in the saddle, or more eager at the call of the slogan; none so busied in the unceasing turmoil of the Marcher feuds, or so fierce and dauntless in their life-long warfare against the Scots. They had full jurisdiction within their spacious domain, and needed to be powerful as well as brave, for they had to hold the castles of Harbottle and Otterburn in addition to their great stronghold of Prudhoe, so gallantly defended against William the Lion in 1170. After many fruitless assaults, the Scottish King had to raise the siege and retreat homewards, and was taken prisoner on his march to Alnwick by Odonel de Umfreville and Bernard Baliol." 
Early History of the Umfre family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Umfre research. Another 118 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1245, 1246, 1277, 1308, 1325 and 1743 are included under the topic Early Umfre History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Umfre Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Umfreville, Umphreville, Umfrevill, Umphrevill and many more.
Early Notables of the Umfre family
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Gilbert de Umfraville (d.1245), a 13th-century nobleman; and his son, Gilbert de Umfraville, Earl of Angus (r. 1246-1308), the first of...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Umfre Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Umfre family
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World 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 stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Umfre or a variant listed above: Robert Umfravill who landed in America in 1760.
- 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)
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3