Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Skinner Name
Skinner Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This Anglo-Scandinavian-Scottish is an occupational surname meaning “the skinner”, a person who dealt in animal skins to earn a living (i.e. a flayer) The process involved stripping the hide from several different animals to be used in production of garments or into tanned leather. The name derives from the Middle English word skin, meaning hide or pelt, which is turn derives from the Old Norse or Viking word skinn. One source claims the Old Norse word Skinni was a nicknma,e In Latin, the name is rendered pelliparius. According to Patronymica Britannica, “The Skinners’ Company in London received their charter of incorporation so early as the first year of Edward II”. This was a popular and important job during medieval times and the Middle Ages throughout the British Isles and beyond. One source asserts the name was brought to England during the Norman Conquest, when Sir Robert Skynner, a Norman Knight from France, received lands of Bolinbroke in Lincolnshire from Duke William, and he married the daughter of a Saxon named de Bolinbroke. This couple started having children in the year 1070 AD and these children intermarried with noble and landed families in England and Europe that flourished until 1700. The arms of Sir Robert were blazoned as follows: Three roebucks passant argent horned or, a chevron of the second, on a field azure, with the Crest being a unicorn’ head.
Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Skynner, Skynnere, Skyniar, Skynnar, Sckynner, Skynur, Skinnier, Skainner, Skiner, and several others.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Skinner ranks 575th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following four states: New Jersey, Montana Arkansas, and Delaware. The surname Skinner frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (343rd), Scotland (369th), Wales (419th), Ireland (1,908th) and Northern Ireland (1,670th). In England, it ranks highest in counties Devon, Kent, and Sussex. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in county Ross and Cromarty. In Wales, it ranks highest in Pembrokeshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in counties Cork and Waterford. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in Antrim. The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (598th), New Zealand (422nd), Australia (336th), and South Africa (1,359th).
Early Bearers of the Surname
Ralph le Skinner was listed in the deeds of Hertfordshire, England in 1269 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists one bearer of this surname: Henry Skyniar in county Oxfordshire. Richard le Skynnere was documented in the Calendarium Inquisitionum Post Mortem Robert le Skynnere was recorded in the Writs of Parliament in 1302. Kirby’s Quest lists one Robert le Skynnar in county Somerset in 1327-8 AD. The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists one bearer of this last name: Johannes Sckynner, Willelmus de Parlynton, skynnar, and Robertus Skynner. An early baptism involving this surname was Richard, son of John, in 1618. A one William Pelliparius witnessed a charter at St. Andrews, Scotland in 1250 AD. The lands and property one Simon Pellipar were listed in Aberdeen in 1281 AD. Stephan Skynnar held land in Inverness, Scotland in 1361. John Skinner was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1470 AD.
Skinner Family Tree & Skinner Genealogy
The lineage of this branch of the Skinner family tree begins with one James Skinner of Bristol who had a son named Thomas. This Sir Thomas Skinner, 1st Baronet, of Pont Street, Chelsea was born in 1840. He was a Justice of the Peace of Middlesex, a Director of Canadian Pacific Railway, the Bank of Montreal, and Commercial Cable Company. He was created a Baronet in February of 1912. In 1866, he married Sarah Margaret, daughter of Jonas Barnett Hewitt, of London and Macclesfield, and had eight children with her as follows: 1) Thomas (2nd Baronet, discussed below), 2) Ernest (in 1903, she married Leonie Mercedes Doll, had a daughter named Eva Jacqueline Leonle), 3) John (married Angela Dunn of Maida Vale, N.W., and had a son with her named John Reginald who was born in 1909), 4) Charles Henry (born in 1886, married in 1910, Violet Muriel Furber of Hampstead and Frinton, had two issue named Charles David Evelyn and Violet Elizabeth Furber), 5) Margaret Maude (married Sydney Wallis Leleux of Brixton), 6) Lynette (married Alfred William Attneave of Highbury), 7) Elsie Winifred (married George Sibley Berry, of Enfield, Middlesex), and 8) Dorothy (married James Brewer of Queen Anne Street, St. Marylebone). He died in 1926 and was succeeded by his son Thomas. Sir Thomas Hewitt Skinner, 2nd Baronet, of Pont Street, Chelsea, was born in 1875 He as the Managing Director of Thomas Skinner and Co. Publishers (LTD). In 1899, he married Nellie Constance, daughter of James Hay Hall, of Highgate, and had five issue with her: Thomas Gordon (served on World War I and II, married Mollie Barbara Girling of Suffolk and had issue named Thomas Keith Hewitt, Gordon Michael Hewitt, and Peter Girling Hewitt), Stanley Hewitt (served in World War II, married Joyce, daughter of Rodney de Levis Prizer of London), Constance Irene (married Claude Harry Mills, son of W.H. Mills), Nellie Gwendoline (born 1904), and Marie Vivien (born 1908, and in 1933, married Robert Archibald Hugh Collum). The Skinner Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Skinner Family Crest or Skinner Family Shield) by those unfamiliar with heraldry is blazoned as follows: Ermine, on a bend or between in chief a port between two towers proper flying therefrom to the sinister two pennons gules, and in the base an ancient ship of the second, three maple leaves, slipped vert. Crest: A griffin’s head couped vert, the neck or between two dragons’ wings gules. Motto: Nec timeo nec sperno. They resided at Gortmore, Old Green Lane, Camberley, Surrey, England (once Great Britain and not the United Kingdom).
Skinner of Shirley Park
The book “A genealogical dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain” states the following in regard to the Norman Knight’s lineage and descendants that establishes the Skinner genealogy: “..the issue of the aforemesaid Sir Robert Skinner and the heiress of Bolinbroke continued in line, intermarrying with distinguished houses, until the chief branch became extinct in 1700. Numerous offshoots were planted, however, in the countries of York, Leicester, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Worcester, and Hereford…in the year 1440, Sir John Skinner, an immediate descendant of Sir George Skinner, the second son of Sir Robert, the Norman, went into Kent, and married the daughter of Sir Robert St. Leger of Nowel”. He is second son Robert Skinner was a Benedictine monk who became the Prior of Malvern in Worcestershire. His estates were inherited by his younger brother John. John in turn had a son named Stephen. This Stephen Skinner of Hereford had two sons: Stephen of Le Burtons and Thomas. Several generations down the family tree came one Samuel Skinner, son of Joseph of London and Wanstead and Mary Walker, was and Esquire of Shirley Park, Surrey, who was born in Wanstead, Essex, England in 1774. In 1808, he married Mary, daughter of Robert Routledge of Kirk Mannington, at Chittor, in the Easy Indies, and had the following issue with her: Russell-Morland (born 1809, married Louisa Becher, had issue named Charles Bruce, Russell Morland, Cortlandt, Evelyn Swinton, James Tierney, and Mary Emily), Benjamin (died young), and Charles Bruce Graeme (Barrister-at-law, born in 1816, married Louisa Gertrude, daughter of J.B. Swinhoe, and had a son with her named Russell Grey Morland born in 1845). This family traces its ancestry back to Sir Robert Skinner, the Norman Knight who lived in the eleventh century AD. The coat of arms for this branch of the Skinner family tree is blazoned in the European art of heraldry as follows: Sable, a chevron, or between three griffins heads, erased, argent. Crest: A griffin’s head, erased argent, in the mouth a hand, couped, gules.
Other Skinner Pedigree
James Skynner was born in Devon, England around 1480. He married a woman named Elizabeth and had a daughter with her named Joan. Joan was born in Hatsburgh, England in 1516. She married John Mayne and had a son with her named Alexander.
John Skinner was born in Peckham, Surrey, England in 1466. He married Joane Caldecote and later Jane Gainsford, and had four children with her: Godliva, Richard, Anne, and John. His son John was born in Reigate, Surrey in 1488. He married Catherine Barley and had two children with her: John and Godlyss. His son John Skinner was born in Braintree, Essex, around 1510 AD. He had two sons: Allyn and William. His son William Skinner was born in Braintree, Essex, England around 1542. He married Margery Trotter and had the following issue with her: Rachel, Anne (Wall), Margery, William, John, Richard, and John. His son John Skinner was born in Braintree, England around 1590. He married Mary (Loomis) Tudor and went to colonial America. They had issue with her as follows: Mary (Reeve), Ann (Colt), John IV, Joseph, and Richard. His son John and Joseph married and had issue:
1) Corporal John Skinner was born in Hartford, Connecticut around 1641 and he married Mary Easton and had issue with her as follows: Mary, John, Joseph, Nathan, Richard, Sarah, and Thomas.
2) Joseph Skinner was born in Harford, Connecticut around 1645. He married Mary Elizabeth Filley and had issue with her as follows: Mary (Harmon), Joseph, Elizabeth, Isaac, John, Thomas, Richard Skinner, and Anne Rockewell.
Joseph’s son Joseph was born in 1668. He married Esther Bissell and had a son with her named John. This John Skinner was born in Windsor, CT. He married Sarah Kennedy and had a son with her named Cotton. Cotton Skinner was born in East Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut in colonial America in 1770. He married Prudence Pendergass. He died in Moravia, New York in 1824.
Early American and New World Settlers
Nicholas Skinner was recorded as living in Virginia in February 1623 at a location called “Ouer the River”. He came aboard the Marmaduke in 1621. Nicholas Skinner was recorded as living in Virginia in February 1623 at a location called “Warwick Squeake”. Sam Skynner, age 22, came to the Barbados aboard the Expedition in November of 1635. Other early settlers in colonial America bearing this surname include Thomas Skinner (Virginia 1606), Edward Skinner (Massachusetts 1630), Anthony Skinner (Virginia 1635), Jonathan Skinner (1701), Lewis Skinner (Virginia 1703), Joseph Skinner (Virginia 1711), Samuel Skinner (Virginia 1711), and William Skinner (Philadelphia 1718). In Canada, one of the first settlers bearing this last name was Richard Skinner, who came to St. John’s Newfoundland in 1706. In Australia, one of the earliest bearers was John Skinner, a convict from Kent, England who came to New South Wales (then a penal colony) aboard the Ann. In 1823, a one Dennis Skinner, a convict from Dorset, came to Van Diemen’s Land (present day Tasmania) aboard the Albion. In New Zealand, James Skinner came to the city of Auckland in 1840. The next year, William Skinner came to Port Nicholson aboard the Mandarin.
Early Americans Bearing the Skinner Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains two entries for this surname:
1) Argent a sea horse sable within an orle and encircled by 16 torteaux. Crest: a demi sea horse. Motto: Droit et avant Framed paintings owned by Mrs. E. B. Ficklen ( Myra Skinner), Mrs. Margaret Skinner Ferguson, Mrs. W. H. Whedbee, all of Greenville, N. C., and Miss Marian Drane, Edenton, N. C., daughter of Rev. Dr. Drane, rector for 47 years of St. Paul’s, who married Miss Skinner.
2) Sable on a chevron or bet 3 griffins’ heads erased argent a crescent of the first Crest: a griffin’s head erased argent holding in its beak a dexter hand couped gules. Engr. on an alms dish from Richard Skinner, 1727. Second Church, Marblehead, Mass.Old Sil. Am. Ch., p. 268.
Crozier’s General Armory (1904) contains one entry for this name: Henry Whipple Skinner, Esquire of Detroit, Michigan. Arms: Sable, a chevron or between three griffins’ heads erased argent. Crest: A griffin’s head erased argent, holding in its mouth a dexter gauntlet. Motto: Nunquam non paratus. Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook (1907) does not contain an entry for this name. Henry Whipple Skinner, the same person mentioned above. This book states he was the son of Lieutenant Edwin A. Skinner, a Lieutenant and Quartermaster of the 10th Michigan Infantry, and Catherine S. Whipple. He descended from John Skinner of Hoodbridge, New Jersey who lived in the eighteenth century. Henry was born in June of 1852 and he graduated from Harvard University. He served in the Detroit Light Guard Company and the 3rd Regiment of the Michigan State Militia. In 1892, he married Henrietta C., daughter of Richard H. Dana of Boston, and had a son with her named Richard Dana who was born in April of 1893. He resided at 360 Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, MI.
I have identified four Latin or French Skinner family mottoes:
1) Sanguis et vulnera (Blood and wounds)
2) E’en do and spair not
3) Nunquam non paratus (Never unprepared)
4) Droit et avant (Right and Forward)
We have 8 coats of arms for the Skinner surname depicted here. These 35 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore an Skinner Coat of Arms (or mistakenly called the Skinner Family Crest) include:
1) Maria Skinner, 7th daughter of Cortland (Skinner), of New Jersey, North America, wife of Sir George Nugent, Baronet, of Berkshire, 1807
2) Skinner, late Longmore, of county Essex and Norfolk, 19 October 1825
3) Russell and Samuel Skinner, B.C.S, Judge of Circuit at Chittor, Madras, Quartering Walker, 1827
There are hundreds of notable people with the Skinner surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Carlton Skinner (1913-2004) who was the Governor of Guam from 1949-1953, a Commander in the US Navy who was born in Palo Alto, California, 2) Harry Skinner (1855-1929) who was a member of the US House of Representatives from North Carolina from 1895-1899, born near Herford, North Carolina, 3) Clarence Farrington Skinner (1900-1962) who was the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1957-1960 and previously was a member of Parliament for Motueka and Buller, born in Melborune, Australia, a Major in the New Zealand Army who fought in World War II, 4) Thomas Joseph Skinner (1752-1809) who was an American politician born in Williamstown, Massachusetts who was an officer of militia during the American Revolution and also served in the US House of Representatives and state legislature of Massachusetts, 5) Forby Leonard Skinner (1933-2010) who was an American gym teacher and basketball coach from Jacksonville, Florida who was the namesake of the famous Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, 6) Robert Ralph Skinner (1931) who was an American outfielder and first baseman who played in the MLB from 1954 to 1966 for three different teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was then a manager and coach from 1968 to 1988, 7) James Donald “Jimmy” Skinner (1917-2007) who was a head coach and general manager for the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL, born in Selkirk, Manitoba, who is credited for having started the famous tradition of kissing the Stanley Cup, 8) Colonel Leslie Alfred Skinner (1900-1978) who was an American rocket engineer born in San Francisco, California who is credited for developed the Bazooka and developing rocket propelled weapons during the Second World War, 9) Eugene Franklin Skinner (1809-1864) who was an early American settler who founded the city of Eugene, Oregon, having been born in Essex, New York, a sheriff, farmer, lawyer, and ferry operator by trade, and 10) Frank Skinner (1897-1968) who was an American film composer and arranger born in Meredosia, Illinois.
1) (Le Burtons and Ledbury, co. Hereford; descended from Stephen Skinner, Esq., of Le Burtons, who il. in 1557, elder son of Stephen Skinner, Esq., of co. Hereford. The heiress of the senior line, Rebecca Skinner, m. Richard Clarke, Esq., of the Hill, near Ross. Her grand-uncle, Edward Skinner, of Ledbury, d. in 1631, leaving- five sons: 1) Richard, of Cofton, co. Worcester, whose only dau. and heir m. Thomas Jolliffe, Esq.; 2) Edward, of Hill House; 3) William, LL.D., of Hereford; 4) Thomas, of London; and V. John, of Ledbury, whose great-grandson, William Skinner, Esq., of Underdown, d. s.p. in 1764, leaving hia neices, Anne Hallings, and Milly Hallings, wife of John Miles, Esq., his co-heirs). (Robert Skinner, Bishop of Worcester at the Restoration of Charles II., grandson of Thomas, younger brother of Stephen Skinner, of Le Burtons, who d. in 1557, ancestor of the late Rev. Matthew Skinner, M.A., who d.s.p. in 1825, leaving his nephew, Samuel James Longmore, Esq., Royal Artillery, his heir, who took, in consequence, the name and arms of Skinner). (London; borne by Russell Skinner, Esq., anil Samuel Skinner, Esq., formerly Judge of Circuit at Chittoor, in the East Indies, sons of Joseph Skinner, Esq., of London and Wanstead, by Mary, his wife, dau. and co-heir of Captain Thomas Walker, and the lineal descendants of Samuel, second son of Bishop Skinner). Sa. a chev. or, betw. three griffins’ heads erased ar., a mullet for diff. Crest—A griffin's head erased ar. holding in the beak a hand couped gu. on the breast a mullet for diff. Motto—Sanguis et vulnera.
2) (Cowley, co. Devon). Ar. a chief az. semee-de-lis of the first. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi talbot gu. collared and lined ar.
3) (co. Essex). Gu. on a fess betw. three lures or, a lion pass az.
4) (Carisbrooke House, Isle of Wight). Quarterly, 1st and 4th, ar. a sword in bend dexter az. hilted and pommelled or, and an oak tree eradicated in bend sinister ppr. the former supporting on its point in the dexter chief canton an antique crown gu., for MacGregor; 2nd and 3rd, sa. a cbev. betw. three griffins’ heads erased or, for Skinner. Crest—A lion’s head erased, crowned with an antique crown both ppr., in an escroll above, this Motto, “E’en do and spair not; ” and in another, below the shield, this Motto, “Nunquam non paratus.”
5) (Lord Mayorof London, 1596). Or, on a fess betw. three lures gu. a lion pass. of the first.
6) (Dewlish). Sa. a chev. betw. three griffins’ heads erased ar.
7) Sa three griffins’ heads erased ar. Crest—A griffin’s head erased ar. in the beak a dexter hand couped at the wrist gu.
8) Ar. a chief az. semee-de-lis or.