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2781

Constantine

 

About the study

I have been researching the name Constantine since the early 1980s when I was given a sampler worked by my gt gt grandmother aged 9 in Kettlewell, Yorkshire. Since then I have expanded my research to cover all instances of this name initially in Upper Wharfedale and then further afield in Yorkshire and Lancashire. Now my research covers many places in England but also the USA, Australia and New Zealand. I have excluded those who have anglicised an originally Greek name. Many of the Lancashire Constantines were originally Consterdine and the surname was "normalised" by officials over the years. I had not intended to include Consterdine but have recorded many of these instances.

Variant names

Cossentyne, Costentin and Constantyn

Name origin

Research by the College of Arms supports the theory that it is of Norman origin, derived from the town of Coutances in Normandy, called Constantin from the 3rd century. Documents of the period 900 to 1206 in Normandy give instances of the name Constantine in both France and England. The first Constantine known in England was Radulf of Shropshire and it is claimed by some writers that his ancestor was Nigel, Viscount of Coutances who in 1047 in an unsuccessful revolt against Duke William forfeited his lands. There is no proven link to King Constantine or Constantine the Great.

History of the name

Constantine, George (b. c.1500, d. in or before 1561), evangelical reformer, was born near the Cheshire-€“Shropshire border and educated at a local school before going on to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1517-€“18. He became vicar of Sedgley, Staffordshire, about 1526 and was active in the Reformation and was arrested for treason in 1531 he escaped and fled to the low countries only returning after the death of Thomas More in 1532. He was arrested again for treason in 1539, released and moved to Wales, he also went to the low Countries many times, A successor was appointed in 1561 so he had died by then.

Constantine, Joseph (1857 -€“ 19 Dec 1922) founder of the Constantine shipping line. His family commissioned a book by LG Pine called the House of Constantine. Susannah Constantine the TV celebrity and author is one of his descendants.

Constantine, Learie Nicholas, Baron Constantine, (1901 -€“ 1971) Best known as a cricketer he was also a politician. Descended from slaves he was born in Trinidad. During the second world war he was employed by the Ministry of Labour responsible for race relations. He was awarded the MBE in 1946 and knighted in 1961.

Name frequency

According to British Surnames website In the UK 1881 census there were 870 people named Constantine, (Family search website gives 1027 people ) Family Search 1880 USA census gives 1579 people. Many of these were anglicised versions of Greek names and therefore not included in the study.

Distribution of the name

The highest instances in England in 1881 were in Yorkshire and Lancashire having 617 between them. The next closest was London with 73.

Data

This is very much work in progress. All Constantine entries from the GRO Indexes for England and Wales (1837 to 1950) have been recorded. I also have PCC Probate records to 1941, PCY index 1688 -1800, extracts from parish register entries and from miscellaneous other sources both at home and abroad.

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