Lambert Surname Meaning, History & Origin
Lambert name has been widespread in Europe and
goes back at least to the 5th century.
Because of its antiquity, the root of Lambert is uncertain. Some have the name derived from the name Landbehrt, possibly meaning “bright
in the Low Countries in the
7th century, was highly venerated and a source of the name’s
popularity. In the next four centuries the
name could be found
as widely spread as Italy, where Lambert the Bishop of Ostia was
elected Pope, to
Louvain in present-day Belgium, and to Poland where a Lambert was king
in the early
11th century. The Lambert name came to
after the Norman invasion in 1066.
Lambert Resources on
- The Lamberts
- The Lambert Surname
- The Lamberts of Athenry
Lamberts in Galway.
- Lambert Family History
Lamberts from Switzerland to Pennsylvania.
Lambert as a surname in Europe is mainly found in Belgium and
France. The following are the approximate numbers there today:
- 20,000 in Belgium
- and 60,000 in France.
In Belgium the main numbers have been in French-speaking Wallonia; in
France in the Loire area and in eastern France. The most
well-known Lambert has probably been the 18th century physicist and
astronomer Johann Heinrich Lambert from the eastern province of Alsace
who is associated today with Lambert’s Law.
England. There were early reports of the Lambert name in
southern England, in particular in Hampshire. Richard Lambert
appeared in the 1148 pipe rolls
of Hampshire. Later Lamberts in Hampshire were:
- Sir Nicholas Lambert, Lord Mayor of London in 1537,
came from a family of wool merchants in Maiden Bradley.
William Lambert, the MP for Old Sarum around this time, was probably
from the same family.
- another Lambert family in Hampshire was
based at Laverstoke.
- William Lambert of Southampton was the father of Oliver
Lambert, a soldier of fortune who became Governor of Connacht in
Ireland in 1601.
- while Christopher Lambert became the MP for
Winchester in 1593, but only, it appears, because his sister Jane was
the mistress of the Marquess of Winchester.
Sir John Lambert, born in France, had come to London as a merchant in
the 1690’s and was an important financier to the English Government in
the early 1700’s. He was created a baronet in 1711.
However, the Lambert name has been found more frequently along the east
coast of England, with the main concentrations being in Yorkshire,
Lincolnshire, and East Anglia. That pattern would suggest a
Viking or more probably a Saxon origin for Lamberts. The
earliest sighting was probably Lambert as the prior of Kyme in
Yorkshire around the year 1185.
One line began at Skipton in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
William de Lambarte was recorded as being born there in 1285.
John Lambert of this line came into possession of Calton Hall in Kirkby
Malham at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.
Calton Hall was the home of John Lambert, Cromwell’s famous
general during the Civil War. Lambert’s rise was
spectacular. So was his fall at the time of the
General George Monck marched south to restore Parliament, Lambert
in an attempt to negotiate or stop him by force but was abandoned by
his soldiers. Lambert was then tried for treason and
banished to the island of Guernsey. He
was later imprisoned on Drake’s Island in Plymouth Sound where he died
Lamberts have been a presence at Manningham near Bradford since the
early 1600’s. The name has subsequently spread across the
county. It has also been a fairly common name in Lincolnshire and
Suffolk. From the Lamberts of Kirton in Lincolnshire came Richard
Lambert, the Sheriff of London in 1568. One family line has been
traced back to Philip and Martha Lambert in 1690 at Hasketon near
Woodbridge in Suffolk.
was an old Catholic Lambert family in Wexford, first recorded in the
14th century, which was Norman in origin and may have dated back to the
time of Strongbow. In the 18th century they were landowners at
Oliver Lambert came to Ireland with the Earl of Essex’s army in
1599. His successors were created Earls of Cavan. Another
line, originating from Calton in Yorkshire, came to the parish of
Athenry in Galway. John Lambert, an officer in Cromwell’s army,
made his home at Creg Clare in 1669. There were subsequent
Lambert homes at
Castle Lambert and Castle Ellen. The family story was
recounted in Finbarr O’Regan’s 1999 book The Lamberts of Athenry.
America. Lambert arrivals in America by
ship were almost half from England, but also included Lamberts from
Ireland, Germany and France.
from Dorset came to Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1631 and died at
Barnstable on Cape Cod in
1663. He was possibly the earliest Lambert
immigrant into America and probably the one with most descendants.
Some Lamberts in Massachusetts migrated via Connecticut to Pennsylvania
and New Jersey in the 1740’s. Three brothers settled near Coryell’s Ferry
in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. The oldest Thomas,
however, made his home in Hunterdon county, New Jersey. From his
line came John Lambert, the US Senator for New Jersey from 1809 to
1815. A later John Lambert became President of the American Steel
and Wire Company. The Lambert coal mine in Fayette county was
named after him.
Matthias Lambert (originally Lambard) came from the Rhine Palatine in
Germany and was one of the many Palatines fleeing religious persecution
home. Matthias arrived in Philadelphia on the Sally in 1733 and first made his
home in York county, Pennsylvania. Later Lamberts of this family
moved to Maryland and Virginia. John Michael Lambert, who arrived in
1764, settled in Bucks county, Pennsylvania.
Canada. French Lamberts first came to Canada, or more
specifically to what was then New France and is now Quebec.
Eustache Lambert arrived there with his family from Boulogne in the
1640’s. Aubin Lambert from the Perche region came about
twenty years later. The Lambert Dumont family were seigneurs of
Mille-Iles from about 1743 and they subsequently owned large tracts of
forest and farmland in the Saint Eustache region of Quebec north of
Patrick Lambert and his family departed Wexford in
Ireland, first for Newfoundland and then for Quebec City in 1816.
Thomas and Margaret Lambert, also from Wexford, came there around
1828. Some of their descendants later moved to the Ottawa area.
A Lambert family were keepers of the Chantry Island lighthouse
on Lake Huron for almost fifty years, from 1858 to 1907.
New Zealand. There were Lamberts who came to New Zealand from England,
Scotland and Ireland:
- Albert Lambert who arrived with his family from Essex in
and settled in the Porangahau region.
- John Lambert who came with his family from the
borders area in the 1860’s. They settled in the Wanganui
area. John unfortunately died in a riding accident in 1870 at the
age of just 36.
- while William Lambert and his family came from
Galway in Ireland in 1875. They settled in Wairoa. William was an
Anglican clergyman there, his son Thomas a medical practitioner and
a local reporter and writer.
St. Lambert of Maastricht. Saint Lambert
was the Bishop of Maastricht from 670 until his
death about thirty years later. He had been born into a noble family of
Maastricht, a protégé of his uncle Bishop Theodard.
But Lambert lived in turbulent times. Bishop
Theodard was murdered in 670 and the councillors
of Childeric II then made Lambert Bishop of Maastricht. After
Childeric himself was murdered in 675, the
faction of Ebroin, a power behind the throne, expelled Lambert from his
see in favor of their candidate Faramundus.
Lambert spent seven years in exile at the
recently founded Abbey of Stavelot. With a change in the political situation,
Lambert was then able to return to his see.
General John Lambert’s Ancestry. Sometimes ancestry
claims can be dubious. This appears to
have been the case of the ancestry of John Lambert, the famous
general. His grand-daughter and heiress
held their family pedigree “on which were transcribed forty-two
were solemnly attested at the foot thereof by all three of the Kings of
and by one of the heralds.”
that Radulph de Lambart was a companion of William the Conqueror and
father of Hugh, father of Sir William, who married Gundred daughter of
Earl Warren, by Gundred, daughter of William the Conqueror; Sir William
Gundred had Henry Lambart. standard-bearer to Henry II, who married
sister of William de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, and had issue John, who
at Skipton, and Sir Edmund, whose grandson John lived at Long Preston,
Godfrey, who had John, married to Elizabeth daughter of Giles Whitaker,
by whom he had Thomas Lambert of Skipton.
one reviewer put it:
former part of this descent is sufficiently magnificent, but clouds and
darkness rest upon it. It is well for
the compilers however that their authorities are yet extant.”
A well known antiquary had in fact handled two
of the originals of these charters and bluntly pronounced them to be
Daniel Lambert the Heavyweight. Lambert was, at the time of his death, the heaviest man around! The Leicester man still retains a place in the Guinness Book of
Records for his size.
He was born in
Leicester into a a family of gamekeepers, huntsmen and field
sportsmen. He was athletic as a young man but
then began to put on the pounds. In 1806 the Stamford
Mercury reported that Daniel was having a carriage made
specifically to transport him to London where he intended to exhibit
a natural curiosity. He ended his days
living in his London apartments where people would pay a shilling just
to see him.
He died at an inn in Stamford and his
body had to taken out of the building by removing a wall. By that time he was aged 39 and weighed a
massive 53 stones. His waist measured in
at over nine foot. His
coffin was built on wheels and it took
more than 20 men to lower it into his grave.
While Daniel may have been ridiculed for his
vast size if he’d been around now, back in Georgian times he was
a British champion and the pride of Leicester.
The Shooting of Captain Lambert. Captain Giles
Eyre Lambert was the landlord of Moore Park, a Lambert estate located
Castle Lambert. In 1869 he was shot by Peter
Barrett whose parents had lived on the estate but had recently been
evicted. It was said that Barrett hid in a lime
outside of Castle Lambert and waited for Captain Lambert to come out. When he did he shot him in his heart. Lambert slumped and Barrett left him for dead.
the bullet was stopped by his gold
watch and although unconscious for a time, he fully recovered. Barrett made his escape catching the train to
Dublin, where he was arrested. When the
opened in Galway it attracted worldwide coverage and was seen at the
time to be
the trial of the century.
failed to reach agreement and there was a re-trial in Dublin. Again there was disagreement. At the
third trial he was found not guilty, on the basis that he could
not have been
able to shoot Lambert at the time his watch stopped and then still be
board the Dublin train at the time he apparently did.
the trial it emerged that a railway employee had lied about the train’s
which had in fact been some six minutes late. It
also seems that Captain Lambert’s watch had
continued ticking for at least ten minutes longer after it was hit!
Lamberts Coming to America. The table below shows the number of Lambert coming to America based on
their point of origin, according to shipping records.
Lamberts at Coryell’s Ferry in Pennsylvania. While Thomas Lambert moved to Hunterdon county, New Jersey in the 1740’s, his three
– Jeremiah, Gershom and John – settled in Pennsylvania. They
made their home in Bucks county, some two
miles outside the town of Coryell’s Ferry (which is now called New
and John died there within days of each other in 1763. John
Lambert bequeathed his
plantation to his three sons. He called himself “of Amwell” and
that his plantation or homestead “could be rented out to an orderly
at the discretion of the executors with “prudent care over the timber
other things so that nothing be destroyed or wasted.”
the Revolutionary War, John’s son Gershom
went to George Washington’s headquarters at Coryell’s Ferry and aided
American forces in crossing the river and then took supplies to their
The Lamberts of Chantry Island. Duncan McGregor
Lambert had been first mate of the steamer Bruce
Mines when it sank near Stokes Bay on Lake Huron in 1854. He it was who was largely responsible for
ushering the crew into two small boats and safely seeing them to Owen
voyage of over a hundred miles.
took charge of the lighthouse on Chantry Island on
Lake Huron near
Southampton harbor in 1858. He was to
lighthouse keeper for 22 years and with his wife raise eleven children
there. His saddest time came in 1879 when
the Mary and Lucy foundered on a reef south
of Chantry Island. During the rescue
attempt, two would-be rescuers were drowned, including one of his sons
whose boat overturned. Ironically all
aboard the Mary and Lucy reached
When Duncan retired in
1880 his son William took over and held the post until 1907. His children and grandchildren lived in
Toronto but would spend every summer in Southampton to be near their
- Saint Lambert was Bishop of Maastricht from 670 to 700 and much revered after his death.
- John Lambert was Cromwell’s leading general during the English Civil War. He also helped establish the Protectorate in the years that followed.
- Sir John Lambert was a French-born merchant
in London who was instrumental in financing the British government in the early 1700’s.
- John W. Lambert was an American automotive
pioneer, inventor, and manufacturer in the early 1900’s.
Select Lambert Numbers Today
- 30,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 36,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
- 24,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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