Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Norris Family Info

My line descends from Thomas Norris b. c1608 in Congham,(in the King’s
Lynn area of Norfolk Co), England who was the first of our line to
emmigrate to the Colonies. He is #9 below. There is general agreement on
his immediate ancestry as follows:

1. Geoffrey Norreys, born c1345, was party to a fine levied in Lynn,
Norfolk in 1361, and bought land in Tilney in the 1380s.

2. Geoffrey Norreys, born c1370, had sons Geoffrey and John.

3. Geoffrey Norreys, became Lord of Monpinzoun Manor, West Bilney
Norfolk. He wed Margery. His will, dated 12 Aug 1464, named his brother
John as executor. Margery survived him. They had a son, John Norreys.

4. John Norreys, listed in West Bilney, had a son Robert.

5. Robert Norreys, born c1460, had a son, Geoffrey.

6. Geoffrey Norreys was still under age in 1504. He had a son, John, and
may have had a son, Thomas, referred to as a "cousin of Congham" when
named supervisor of Geoffrey Might's will in 1591. This suggests an
earlier alliance between Norris and Might families.

7. John Norris (note different spelling), born in the early 1500s, was
recorded as of Congham in 1566 and died 1572/5 in Co Norfolk, England.
He wed by 1549 Alice Might, of Gunthorpe, Norfolk. The six children of
John and Alice were Thomas, Cuthbert, Elizabeth, Alice, Edmund, and

8. Geoffrey Norris, born 15.., son of John Norris and Alice Might, is
probably the Jeffrey Norris named in 1600/1 in the will of Thomas Might
who was probably his uncle. Geoffrey was named executor of the will
of his brother Edmund in 1609 (1- 5). His four children were Alice,
Elizabeth, Edmund, Thomas.

9. Thomas Norris was born c1608 in Congham, Norfolk Co, England, the son
of Geoffrey Norris. He ran away from home when about 11 years old and
went to sea. He came to Nansemond Co VA c1630, then to St Mary's Co MD
c1634 with a trading adventurer, William Claiborne. In 1637 he wed Ann
Hynson, daughter of Thomas Hynson of Nansemond Co VA and Kent Island MD.
(Records Annapolis 1637) Ann died c1660. Thomas became a planter
asociated with his brother-in- law, Daniel Glover, who wed Ann's sister.
In 1663 Thomas and Daniel were both transported" to Talbot Co MD by John
Morgan where, in 1665, they jointly purchased 400 acres of land. In 1673
Thomas had a a grant of 200 acres called "Norrisderry" on Chester River,
as well as other lands. He died before Nov. 1675. His son, Thomas,
finished negotiating for still another land that Thomas Sr had begun.


I believe the Norris/Norreys in Section 1 above are
descended from one of the le Norreys in this section, but I have not
been able to determine the connection. The earliest of this group,
Geoffrey le Norreys, was clearly well connected to the Earl of Richmond
and the Royal Family. All of his sons were successful in their own
right, with the family soon holding lands all across northern England.
The family eventually split into an eastern branch centered in Yorkshire
and a western branch centered in Lancashire. The western branch was
quite prolific and at various periods held Speke, Blackrod, Haigh,
Burtonhead, Halsnead, and others. They produced several sheriffs and
barons and also Sir Henry Norris, executed by Henry VIII in his
desperation to discredit Anne Boleyn. The eastern branch was equally
prolific if not quite so titled. They held Bereford Manor for several
generations until about 1293 when it reverted to the Earl. I suspect the
geographic location of the eastern branch caused them to be frequently
caught up in the struggles between the Crown, Scots, Northumbrians,
Lancastrians and Catholics. These struggles are probably what led to the
family’s eventual loss of their fiefdom and their movements from
Yorkshire to Lincolnshire and eventually to Norfolk. I am fairly
convinced that the Norreys in Section 1 above are descended from this
eastern line. Certainly their given names and geography seem to support
that conclusion.

Of Geoffrey’s four sons, Hugh and Phillip moved to Lancashire, while
William and Robert stayed in Yorkshire. Many of William and Robert’s
descendents also left Yorkshire to join their uncles in Lancashire. I am
concentrating my search for a connection on those who remained in the
east. I have listed the known descendants of William and Robert below
and I show the most likely candidates for a connection in [brackets].

1 Geoffrey Le Norreys b: 1110 in Bereford, Yorkshire d: 1170
In 1130, he held 1 Knight's Fee in Bereford Manor under the Earl of
Richmond. Bereford was on the south
bank of the River Tees halfway between Darlington and Barnard Castle. It
was later called Barforth and is now uninhabited. Geoffrey had at least
four sons, Robert, William, Hugh, and Phillip.

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