Mortimer: Earliest records of surname

One of the first bearers of the surname was Hugh de Mortemer recorded in 1055 as the Bishop of Coutances in France.1 The well-known Ranulph (Raoul) de Mortemer (1070 – 1104) introduced the Mortimer surname into England in 1066 during the invasion of England by Normandy and became Lord of Wigmore, Herefordshire.1-4 In 1165, a certain William de Mortimer witnessed the coronation of William I as King of Scotland who reigned over independent Scotland from 1165 to 1214. William I was also known as William the Lion or William the Rough.1,2,5 The names of Ralph de Mortimer, of Lincolnshire and Hugh de Mortuomari, of Herefordshire are found in the Hundered Rolls (Hunderdorum) of 1273.1,2 The 1296 Subsidy Rolls listed a Peter Mortemer.6 Also, the Derings Rolls chronicled that Sir Hugh de Mortimer (1271 – 1304) of Richmond Castle, Herefordshire (also titled Baron of Burford), bore his coat-of-arms (CoA) with blazon gules and two bars vair, at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 and at the Siege of Carlaverock in 1300.1,7 Sir Roger Mortimer (1287 – 1330), 3rd Baron Mortimer, 1st Earl of March – a descendant eight generation removed from ancestor Ranulph de Mortemer of Normandy – attended the coronation of Edward II of England on 25th February 1308 and carried a table bearing the royal robes in the ceremony’s procession. Ironically though, Roger Mortimer had an affair with Queen Isabella, wife of King Edward II and by 1327 Mortimer played a significant role in the forced abdication of King Edward II in favour of Edward III, the king’s son.1,3,8

An authentic grant of Armorial Ensign (CoA or Family Crest) was awarded to a specific individual and his descendants and remained only that family’s property. No-one else could lay claim to the specific insignia awarded to them, and this stipulation is still applicable to this day. Thus, if individuals want(ed) to claim ownership of a specific crest, they need(ed) to proof the legality of their claim by verifying their relation to the relevant family line.4,8-11 Since there were several branches of Mortimers that were unrelated, it explains the various Mortimer CoA that have been recorded or archived.


  1. Last name: Mortimer.
  2. Mortimer surname, family crest & coat of arms.
  3. The Mortimer family.
  4. Ranulph de Mortimer.
  5. William I. King of Scotland.
  6. Reaney, P.H. (& Wilson, R.M.) 1961. A dictionary of British surnames. 2nd Ed. Routledge and Kegan Paul: London
  7. Hugh de Mortimer.
  8. Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March.,_1st_Earl_of_March
  9. Mortimer.
  10. Hugh de Mortimer.
  11. Mortimer family crest. Irish coat-of-arms.