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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 in 1830 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. It is probable that all of the Lancashire Constantines pre 1800 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. It is likely that a lot of these families moved into the area around Manchester from the Low Countries as the weaving industry developed. I have excluded all those whose origins were in the Mediterranean area although, again some appearing in England have names that have been anglicised so I have noted them

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. Coutances is in the Cotentin peninsula.  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, William, 1612-1670 He was educated at Middle Temple and then settled at Merly in Dorset. and was admitted a burgess of Poole on 16 September 1631. He was appointed recorder of the borough on 10 December 1639 then   was elected MP for Poole in Dorset in 1640 but he was disabled in 1643 for his Royalist views, his estate was sequestered and he was sent to the Kings Bench Prison in London. He was reinstated as Recorder in 1660 but displaced in 1662. He was knighted in 1668.  He is a descendant of the Constantines of Shropshire

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. His ancestors originated in Upper Wharfedale. The earliest instance of the name in that dale is in the late 1400s when Henry of Conistone and his wife Margaret were having  children.  Joseph's ancestors seem to have left Wharfedale in the late 1500s or early 1600s and moved into the towns and villages around Keighley. Direct descendants of Henry and Margaret continued to live in Upper Wharfedale until the  mid to late 1800s.

  Constantine Hugh Alex,Sir, Air Chief Marshall, KBE, CB, DSO (23 May 1908 – 16 April 1992) was a Royal Air Force officer who became Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Flying Training Command. He served from 1926 to 1964. His family were from Hampshire in the 1700s

 

 

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.

DNA

A Constantine DNA Project has been started although it is still in it's infancy. One direct descendant of Henry Constantine of Upper Wharfedale has taken the Y DNA Test so hopefully this will enable us to confirm, or not, the other lines that are believed to be also descended from Henry

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