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Norris Coat of Arms / Norris Family Crest

Norris Coat of Arms / Norris Family Crest

The surname of NORRIS was derived from the Old English word 'norice' a name given to a Norwegian, the man from the North. The name was brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conquerer. It is known as the Domesday Book. The name is also spelt NORISS, NORISSH, NORREYS, NURRISH and NORSE. Early records of the name mention Thomas le Noreis, 1273 County Lancashire. Robert le Norys of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edward Norries of County Lancashire, registered at Oxford University in 1579. A later instance of the name mentions John Norris who married Mary McClary at St. George's Church, London in the year 1766. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Some bearers of this name trace their ancestry to Richard de Norrys, who was cook to Eleanor, wife of Henry III in the 13th century. Another ancestor was Henry Norris who was executed in 1536, convicted of being one of Ann Boleyn's lovers. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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