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About the study

I started to trace my family name Colthup about 25 years ago. I had always thought it to be a Kentish name as my family had been established in villages between Canterbury and Dover for generations. However it was only when I discovered that the earliest Kentish ancestor I could find had originated in Suffolk that my search widened. Thomas Calthrop signed the Protestation Return in 1641 stating that he had lived in Barham near Canterbury for 20 years but had originated in Thornham, Suffolk.

I was then able to trace my faamily line in Suffolk back to 1580, and discovered that the name was fairly common in East Anglia.

Variant names

In Norfolk the name was consistanly spelt Calthorpe and in Suffolk Calthrop, there were slight variations of spelling, but in Kent I have found about 14 variants. In the 19th century three main branches were established Colthup remaining in E.Kent, Coultrip in the Isle of Sheppey and Medway villages and Coultrup migrating into E.London and Essex.

Name origin

The name seems to have originated from the place name Calthorpe in N.Norfolk, and is explained as a Danish settlement by a cold stream in Blomfields History of Norfolk. The family who tooktheir name from the place had a great infuence in Norfolk and Suffolk in the 14th and 15th centuries. Brasses may be seen in many churches, they owned and built many of the great houses, held high county positions in East Anglian counties and founded religious institutions.

The site of their original home in Calthorpe is now a mound in the ground by the stream.

In Doomsday the name was spelt Caletoup and Encycl.Brit. Edit ii Vol 5 pg 69 - latin 'calx' a heel and a 'trappa' late latin for snare, iron ball with 4 spikes. Botanical name for several thistles.

Historical occurrences of the name

There are several genealogies in SOG and the Norfolk and Suffolk Record Offices. I have used 'Notes on the Family of Calthorp and Calthrop' by Colonal Christopher Calthrop Privately printed London 1933.

The book has been useful before Parish registers.

The first recorded name was Walter de Calthorpe father of Walter de Calthorpe 10th Bishop of Norwich.

Sir Wm de Calthorpe bore arms with checky, or azure and a fesse erme on the Edward 11 Roll.

Sir Wm Calthorpe d.1420 commanded the companies of archers from E. Anglian counties at Agincourt.

John Calthorp founded the Carmelites at Blakeney 1503.

Sir Martin Calthrop of Antringham Norfolk, Lord Mayor of London d. 1589.

Sir James Calthrop Sheriff of Norfolk d. 1612.

I have often speculated why my ancestor Thomas Calthrop, a reasonably well off yeomen (by his will) established himself in Kent, but then I discovered that Sir Martin Calthrop the Lord Mayor of London had married 3 of his daughters, and later his widow married into landed E. Kent families surrounding the area in which my ancestor lived.
I have yet to find a connection.

The only really notable Colthup in this century has been Sir Wm Colthup High Sheriff of Kent 1950.

Name frequency

Pre 1700 the name was fairly common in Norfolk, Suffolk and a branch in Lincolnshire. Most were affluent, but others of more modest means. In Kent we all descended from Thomas in 1620, and in England the name Colthup has a frequency of about 80, the same of Coultrup and perhaps a few more Coultrips.

In the 19th century family members emigrated to both USA and Australia where the name is in both continents more common than in Britain.

Since Thomas moved from Suffolk to Kent I have not researched the names Calthorpe and Calthrop in E. Anglia.

Colthup has a frequency of about 80, perhaps a few more of Coultrip and Coultrup.