Show ContentsVarney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Varney reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Varney family lived in "Vernai, near Bayeux, Normandy. Walter de Vernai occurs in Cambridgeshire in 1158, and Richard de Vernai in Staffordshire in the time of Richard I. The Lords Willoughby de Broke descend from William de Vernai, living 1119-1148. They were first seated at Bromshulfe in Staffordshire, and in the beginning of the fourteenth century at Madeley in Herefordshire, but as early as the reign of Henry VI we find them settled in their present home in Warwickshire." [1]

Early Origins of the Varney family

The surname Varney was first found in Warwickshire where in 1442 Richard de Vernay built a stately manor house at Compton-Murdack, which as Compton-Vernay, still continues to be the family seat. His grandson, another Richard, was "in such esteem with Henry VIII., that, being informed of some infirmity in his head, he granted him a special license, dated Greenwich, January 15th, 1517, to wear his bonnet at all times and in all places, as well in the King's presence as elsewhere, according to his own pleasure, without the interruption of any man whatsoever." [1]

Apparently, Richard Verney (d.1489) with the assistance of his younger brother John Verney, Dean of Lichfield, formerly Rector of Bredon in Worcestershire, and supervisor and receiver-general to Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick (1382-1439) acquired Compton Murdack (Murdak). The Verney family had begun acquiring lands in the area surrounding Compton Murdak in the 1430s before purchasing the estate. In about 1500 the manor was renamed Compton Verney as was built c. 1442.

Wenzel Hollar (1607-1677) completed a full sketch of the stained glass windows in the manor house depicting various arms of the family and kings at the time.

"Richard Verney Esquire (afterward knight) possest it and built a great part of the house as it now standeth, wherein besides his own armes with matches, he then set up towards the upper end of the hall the armes of King Henry the Sixth, Queen Margaret, Humfrey Earl of Stafford (afterwards created Duke of Buck(ingham)), Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick, and the Lord Zouch, with some others, by which it appeareth that he was one of those that adhered to the House of Lancaster".

The Earls Verney descended from Sir Ralph Verney, whose son John married a Hertfordshire heiress, the daughter of Sir Robert Whittington of Penley, Sheriff of London in 1419. They were afterwards seated at Middle Claydon, Bucks (bought by Sir Ralph in 1458), and "either he, or his son Sir John, built a capital mansion there in the reign of Henry VII., which has ever since been the chief seat of the family, but having undergone many alterations, retains no vestige of its ancient form. The more modern part was fitted up in a very magnificent manner, and furnished, with great expense, by the late Earl Verney." [1]

Early History of the Varney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Varney research. Another 136 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1419, 1465, 1642, 1703 and 1791 are included under the topic Early Varney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Varney Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Varney family name include Varney, Verney and others.

Early Notables of the Varney family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Edmund Verney, standard bearer to King Charles I., who fell at the battle of Edgehill in 1642. He was the father of Sir Ralph, the first Baronet, and the grandfather of Sir John, created in 1703 Baron Verney of Belturbet and Viscount of Fermanagh in Ireland. An Earldom followed...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Varney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Varney Ranking

In the United States, the name Varney is the 2,566th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Varney family to Ireland

Some of the Varney family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Varney migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Varney family to immigrate North America:

Varney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Varney, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1654 [3]
  • Thomas Varney, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1664 [3]
  • Humphrey Varney, who landed in New England in 1664 [3]
Varney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • E. Varney, who settled in Belfast, Maine, in 1822
  • H Varney, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • G Varney, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • J Varney, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • H. J. Varney, who arrived in San Francisco in 1852

Australia Varney migration to Australia +

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

Varney Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Varney, (b. 1793), aged 25, English shoe maker who was convicted in Southwark, London, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1890 [4]
  • Mr. James Varney, British Convict who was convicted in Jamaica for 14 years, transported aboard the "Canton" on 20th September 1839, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]

New Zealand Varney 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:

Varney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W. Varney, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Triumph" in 1883

Contemporary Notables of the name Varney (post 1700) +

  • Stuart A. Varney (b. 1948), British-American talk show host and conservative political commentator who works for Fox News and the Fox Business Network
  • Carleton Bates Varney (1937-2022), American decorator, designer, lecturer, and author, known as Mr. Color
  • James Albert Varney Jr. (1949-2000), American actor, best remembered for his role as Jed Clamplett in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)
  • Walter Thomas Varney (1888-1967), American aviation pioneer, founder of Varney Air Lines
  • Allen Varney (b. 1959), American writer and game designer
  • Lawrence Delano "Dike" Varney (1880-1950), Major League Baseball pitcher
  • David F. Varney, American Republican politician, Candidate for West Virginia State House of Delegates from Wayne County, 1962, 1966 [6]
  • David B. Varney, American politician, Member of New Hampshire State Senate 19th District, 1881-82 [6]
  • Christine A. Varney, American Democratic Party politician, Member, Federal Trade Commission, 1994-97 [6]
  • Charles W. Varney Jr., American politician, Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Rochester 2nd Ward, 1948 [6]
  • ... (Another 20 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mrs. Louisa Varney (1853-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [7]
  • Miss Violet Gladys Varney (1897-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [7]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John Varney, English Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and died in the sinking [8]

Suggested Readings for the name Varney +

  • Charles Varney and Rachel Parker of Berwick, Maine: Their Ancestors and Descendants by Ruth Varney Held.

  1. 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
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from
  7. Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from
  8. Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from on Facebook