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Duckworth Surname

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Background on the Surname Duckworth

The Saxon Chronichle, compiled by monks in the 10th Century, now reposes in the British Museum. It is History of the Saxon Settlement in England. History researchers have examined reproductions of such manuscripts as the Domesday Book, (1086), the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, The pe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, Parish Registers,Baptismal, Tax Records. They found the first record of the name Duckworth in Cambridgeshire where they had been seated from early times. Throughout the Centuries the name DUCKWORTH, occurred in many Records, Manuscripts and Documents, but not always with the exact spelling. From time to time the Surname was spelt DUCKWORTH, DYKEWARD, DUCKWARD, DUCKWORT, DUCKWART, DICKWORTH, DICKWARD, DICKWORD, DICKWORT, and these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even bewtween Father and Son. Scribes and Church Officials frequently spelt the names "Phonetically". As a result the same person would be recorded differently on Birth, Baptismal, Marriage and Death Certificates. The Saxon race gave birth to many English surnames not the least of which was the surname DUCKWORTH. The Saxons, invited into England by the ancient Britons of the 4th Century, were fair skinned people, their home was in the Rhine Valley in Germany. They were led by two brothers, General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa. The Saxons settled in the County of Kent, in Southern England. During the next four hundred years they forced the Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall in the West, and Cumberland to the North. The Angles occupied the Eastern Coast, the South Folk in Suffolk, North Folk in Norfolk. Under Saxon rule England prospered under a series of High Kings, the last was Harold.

In 1066, the Norman invasion from France occurred and their victory at the Battle of Hastins. In 1070, Duke William took an Army of 40,000 North and wasted the Northern Counties, forcing many rebellious Norman Nobles and Saxons to flee over the border into Scotland. The Saxons who remained in the south were not treated well under hostile Norman rule, and many also moved Northward. Nevertheless, this notable English family name, DUCKWORTH, emerged as an influential name in the county of Cambridge. The surname DUCKWORTH comes from the occupation "Dykeward" who was a man appointedon the East coast to watch the embankments. In pre-Henry VIII times the name was spelled DYKEWARD and over the years changed to the contemporary name DUCKWORTH. From the eastern counties of England, the name travelled to the Southwest Counties of Topsam in Devonshire and Somerset. It also travelled to the Northern County of Lancashire where in 1310 Henry DUCKWORTH held the estates of Osbaldtwistle and Duckworth, in the parish of Whalley. By 1379 Henricus DUCKWORTH had inherited the Family Estates continuing traditions of a long line of DUCKWORTHS in this Northern community. In the South theBaronet of Topsham had established Estates and Manors in Devonshire. In Barwen in Somerset, another branch acquired Estates. In nearby Hamshire, the DUCKWORTHS were included in a census of large landowners in the middle ages. Some time later the commercial Center at that time, the city of Manchester. Those DUCKWORTHS who stayed in England continued to flourish, especially in the South. Notable amongst the family at this time was DUCKWORTH of Cambridgeshire. During the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries England was ravaged by Plaques, Famine and Religious conflict. Protestantism, the newly found political fervor of Cromwellianism and Democratic Government, and the remnants of the Roman Church rejected all non believers. The changing rule caused Burnings, Hangings and Banishments of all Sects and Creeds. Many families were freely "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland, or to the "Colonies". Some were rewarded with Grants of Land, others were Banished. The families who migrated to Ireland became known as the 'Adventures for Land' in Ireland. Protestant settlers "undertook" to keep their faith, being Granted Lands previously owned by the Catholic Irish. There is no record of this distiquished family migrating to Ireland, but that does not preclude the possibility of individual migration. The New World offered better opportunities and some migrated voluntarily. Some left Irelanf disillusioned with promises unfulfilled, but many left directly from their home territories. Some also movedto the European Continent. Members of the family name DUCKWORTH sailed aboard the huge Armada of three masted ships known as the "Wwhite Sails" which sailed the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships such as the Hector, the Dove, and the Rambler were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% off the passenger list never reached their destination. Amongst the first settlers in North America which could be considered a Kinsman of the surname DUCKWORTH, or a variable spelling of the family name was J. DUCKWORTH who settled in New Orleans in 1823;J. DUCKWORTH settled in New York in 1823; H. DUCKWORTH settled in San Francisco in 1852. From the port of entry settlers made their way West, joining the wagon trains to the prairies or the West Coast. During the War of Independence, many Loyalists made their way North to Canada about 1790, and became known as the "United Empire Loyalists". Contemporary Notables of the surname, DUCKWORTH, included many distinguished contributers, John Clifford Duckworth and English Scientist; and Major Sir Richard Duckworth, a descendant of the Hampshire Duckworths.


On a Silver background, a Black Cross with a Gold Cross surmounted, and at the top Two Dragon's Heads, surrounded by Four Aroowheads.


A Dragon's Head surrounded by four Arrowheads. The origin of the surname, according to Elsdon C. Smith's Dictionary of American Family Names (New York 1956), is: DUCKWORTH (ENG) One who came from Duckworth (Ducca's homestead) in Lancashire, a county in Northwest England.

FIRST ACCOUNT: This notable English family name, Duckworth, emerged as an influential name in the county of Cambridge. The surname Duckworth comes from the occupation "dykeward", who was a man appointed on the East coast to watch embankments. In pre-Henry VIII times, the name was spelled Dykeward and over the years changed to the contemporary name "Duckworth." From the eastern counties of England,the name was found in the southwest counties of topsan in Devonshire and Somerset. The name was also found in the northern county of Lancashire, where in 1310 Henry Duckworth held the estates of Oswaltwistle and Duckworth, in the parish of Whalley. By 1379 Henricus Duckworth had inherited the family estates continuing the tradition of a long line of Duckworths in this northern community. In the south, the Baronet of Topsham had established estates and manors in Devonshire. In Barwen in Somerset, another branch of Duckworths acquired estates. In nearby Hampshire, the Duckworths were included in a census of large landowners in the middle ages. Some time later, the family moved to London and followed business pursuits. At this same time in Lancashire, Duckworths moved into the commercial center at that time, the city of Manchester. Those Duckworths who stayed in England continued to flourish, especially in the south. Notable among the family at this time was Duckworth of Cambridgeshire. SECOND ACCOUNT: The name of DUCKWORTH is derived from the residence of its first bearers at Duckworth, an estate at Oswaltwistle, in the Parish of Whalley, Lancashire, England. The literal meaning of the name is "Docca's Estate," Docca being an ancient Anglo-Saxon personal name of uncertain origan. In ancient English and early American records the name appears in the various spelling of Ducworth, Dukeworth, Dokeworth, Dokworth, Duckeworth, Duckworth, and others. Later branches of the family moved from Lancashire into the British counties of York, Surrey, and London. These lines in some cases were of less gentry in Great Britain. The earliest definate records of the name in England are those of Henricus or Henry of Duckworth, who was living in Yorkshire about the year 1379, and Johannes or John Duckworth who was living in Yorkshire at about the same time, or soon thereafter. Both of these accounts of the Duckworth family name are similar and these accounts mention the Duckworth estate in Oswaldtwistle. Duckworth Hall is one of Oswaldtwistle's homesteads and has recorded evidence of its existence for about 800 years, which carries us back to the Norman Lords of Oswaldtwistle. It has an added glamor and romance by reason of its association with one of the most noble orders of chivalry, which played a prominent part in the great crusades: The Knights Hospitallers. Duckworth was once considered a seperate vill(village), and its name denotes Saxon origin. It emerges from the midst of antiquity in the days of the Normans, when we find that Robert, son of Adam de Chedle, released to Richard de Radcliffe all his right in an oxgang (measure) of land in the vill of Duckworth. The Duckworth lands were in part the property of the Knights Hospitallers and were in part the property of the Lords of Oswaldtwistle. The Radcliffes family was one of the lords of Oswaldtwistle. The estate of Duckworth is named in records of the Hospitallers lands as early as 1292. From that date to the 16th century the Hospitallers' share of the land is often referred to in records, but how it became the property of the Duckworth family is unknown. During the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, England was ravaged by plagues, famine, and religious conflict. Protestantism, the newly found political favor of Cornwellianism and democratic government, and the remnants of Roman Catholic Church rejected all non-believers. This changing rule caused burnings, hangings, and banishments of all sects and creeds. Many families were freely "encouraged"to migrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies." Some were rewarded with grants of lands; others were banished.

There is considerable evidence that the Duckworths were established in the New World at a very early period. The first Duckworth mentioned in the records was Charles Duckworth, who served as a soldierin King Phillip's War in 1676, but there is no record of the immediate family or descendants of this immigrant to New England.

By 1800 the Duckworth name is found in many different states and territories. Many of these settlers made their way west, joining wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast.

  • Compiler • Peggy Hahn

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