Scudamore Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Scudamore Meaning
Scudamore as a surname derived from the place-name of
Upton Scudamore, a small village near Warminster in Wiltshire.  Scudamore here may have come from the Old
English word scitemor meaning “one
who lived by the moor.”

Ralph de Scudemer lived around the time of William the Conqueror and held lands in Wiltshire and Herefordshire.  He was the first to assume the Scudamore name. 

Scudamore Resources on

Scudamore Ancestry

EnglandFrom Ralph
de Scudemer came the Scudamores of Wiltshire and Herefordshire.  

Wiltshire.  His name appeared there in
the Domesday Book
of 1086 and Walter de Scydemore around the year 1140. Peter
de Skydemore held the manor of Upton
Scudamore in 1216, as did his descendant Peter Scuydemor who died in

their presence ended later in the 14th century, possibly as a result of
Black Death.  Some moved elsewhere in
Wiltshire, some to Devon, while John Skydemore came to a sad end in London.
Nothing now remains of the Scudamore name in Wiltshire.

Herefordshire.  The first recording of
the name here was Hugh
de Scudimore in the 1167 Herefordshire pipe rolls. Scudamore
descent here split into two lines, the
older one based at Kentchurch and the younger one at Holme Lacy.

The Kentchurch line was closer to the Welsh
border, their lands were farmed by Welshmen, and they were more
sympathetic to
Welsh grievances.  These Scudamore with
Catholic recusants in Elizabethan times but Parliamentarians by the
time of the
Civil War.  There followed:

  • John
    Scudamore, a colonel in the Hereford militia, who was the Hereford MP
    from 1764
    until his death in 1796.
  • two further Johns who were colonels in the Hereford
  • and the line which later became Lucas-Scudamore.

The Holme Lacy line,
which began with George Scudamore in 1419, had by contrast adopted a
much more pro-English
and anti-Welsh line.  John Scudamore then
established himself in 1515 at the court of Henry VIII where he served
as a gentleman
usher for thirty years and grew wealthy.
His son Sir James was a gentleman usher with Queen Elizabeth.  Then came:

  • Sir John Scudamore
    who was made a Viscount in 1628 and entertained
    Charles I at Holme Lacy in 1645 (Holme Lacy was later plundered by the
  • the heiress Frances
    who inherited the
    estate in 1716 and married two men who adopted the Scudamore name.
  • while Sir
    Edwin Stanhope secured the estate in 1820, took the name of
    Stanhope-Scudamore, and
    his descendants were to hold Holme Lacy until 1909.

The Scudamores at Ballingham
in Herefordshire were a branch of the family at Holme Lacy.  From Robert Scudamore, a rector at Stoke
Edith in the 1660’s, came the Scudamores at Wye in Kent.
William Scudamore was a surgeon there, his
son Sir Charles an eminent physician.
However, William of the next generation, born in 1812, spent his
life in
and out of debt.

“He spent his time
travelling in various parts of England and on the Continent, never in
trade or
profession, but occasionally dealing in horses and selling horses on

He died abroad in Trieste in 1871.

and SkidmoreSkydmore
or Skidmore was a spelling
variant to Scudamore.  Often it was found
that some people were using the names interchangeably.
However, by the 16th century the shorter easier form
of Skidmore was coming into more common usage as it began to
spring up in
areas outside of the old landowning families.

Thus Scudamore was still the main
spelling in Herefordshire and nearby Somerset.
But it was the Skidmore spelling that had spread in larger
numbers into
the West Midlands and elsewhere.  By the
time of the 1881 census Skidmore
outnumbering Scudamore
in England by about seven to
one overall.

Skidmore’s 1989 book Thirty Generations
of the Skidmore/Scudamore Family in England and America

Later Scudamores. The Scudamore name could be found in the small
village of Llangarron in Herefordshire from the 17th century onwards.

Geoffrey Scudamore was a farmer there
in the 1920’s and 1930’s who also busied himself in point-to-points
racing.  He served
with the RAF during World War Two and spent two years in a
camp.  On his return, Geoffrey became a
trainer, achieving a career-high in 1950 when his horse won at the
Festival with his son Michael in the saddle.

Geoffrey was the progenitor of a
remarkable Scudamore horse racing family:

  • his
    son Michael (1932-2014), winner of
    the Grand National in 1959
  • his
    grandson Peter (born in 1958), eight times
    Champion Jockey
  • and
    his great grandson Tom (born in 1982).

exploits were
covered in Chris Cook’s 2018 book The
Scudamores: Three of a Kind.

  Godwin Scudamore from
Herefordshire departed
for America as a young man in 1844 and farmed in Illinois.
He enlisted in the Unionist army in

Scudamore was captured and placed in the notorious Libby Prison at
Richmond where he was confined for nine months.
He with others then made a bold strike for liberty.
They managed to work a tunnel through under
the walls of the prison.  On the night of
February 9, 1864 they passed out and made good their escape.”

At the end of the
Civil War, Godwin headed west with his family to California and settled
Scotts Valley where he farmed


Scudamore Miscellany

Ralph de Scudemer.  It appears that Ralph de Scudemer was in Herefordshire before the Norman
Conquest.  Either a Breton or a Norman,
he probably came over from France around 1060 in the retinue of William
fitz Osbern.  He was a stonemason by trade
and was brought in to help build castles against the Welsh along the
border.  The first of these castles was
Harold in Herefordshire.

Ralph married
the widow of Erkembald fitz Erkembald by whom he had three sons –
Walter, and Hugh.  He was mentioned four
times in the Domesday Book of 1086 and was probably still living in
although he was dead by 1120.  He did
ward at the castle of Ewyas Harold on the Welsh border for his lands in
and Herefordshire. 

John Skydemore’s Sad End in London.  John Skydemore from Wiltshire went up to London, fell
in with evil companions, and came to a sad end. On the night of Monday
Epiphany on January 6 1345,

John Skydemore, John de Wysbech, Hugh de Reding,
and John Bussard de Thakeham broke into the shop of William de Dustone,
a hosier
in Cordwainer’s Street. They took away with them several pieces of
cloth of
different colors to the value of l00 shillings which was found later in

A week later, they appeared at a court presided over by
Hammond, then the Lord Mayor of London.

On being asked how they would acquit
themselves, Reding and Bussard said that they were clerks and were
Wysbech and Skydemore could not take the benefit of clergy, but pleaded
not guilty
and put themselves on the mercy of the court.  The jury of twelve
men retired
and after deliberation said on their oath that Wysbech and Skydemore
guilty: “Therefore let them be hanged.”

John, Viscount Scudamore.  John Scudamore, born in 1601, was said to have been
very studious as a young man.  He also
very friendly with Archbishop Laud.

The deaths of three of Scudamore’s
baby sons in their first year led to some soul-searching. Laud
convinced John
that the money gained by his ancestor from the dissolution of the
may have been a reason for this personal tragedy. John took Laud’s
advice to
heart and donated large sums of money to the church.  In fact he
even rebuilt
and endowed the by then dilapidated Abbey Dore church.

Scudamore also took an
interest in agricultural matters and imported a breed of cattle from
France, now
known as Hereford cattle, and a type of cider apple.  King James
made him a
baronet and sent him to the French court as ambassador.

During the Civil War
John Scudamore was one of the leading royalists in the county, which
led to his four-year imprisonment in London.  For his financial
support and
personal sacrifices he later gained a peerage.

Frances Scudamore and Her Husbands.  Frances was
the heiress of the third and last Viscount Scudamore of Holme Lacy who
had died
in 1716.  She was a woman of somewhat
doubtful reputation.

She had first married Henry Somerset the Duke of Beaufort
in 1729.  He adopted the Scudamore
name.  But their marriage was not a happy one, leading the
Duchess to have an affair with Baron William Talbot.
In 1742 the Duke filed for divorce due to
this affair.  The Duchess countersued,
claiming that the Duke was impotent.
When the Duke disproved her claim before court-appointed
examiners, the
divorce was granted in 1743.

The year after her divorce Frances remarried, her second
husband being Colonel Charles Fitzroy.  Charles
Fitzroy was the illegitimate son of Charles Fitzroy, the 2nd Duke of
whose father himself had been an illegitimate son of Charles II by
Villiers. The name was perhaps indicative of his lineage and he too
took the
name of Scudamore on marrying Frances.

Their only child Frances
became the second wife of the Duke of Norfolk.
But she became insane and was locked away
for many years. After her death in 1820 without children, the estate of
Lacy fell into extensive litigation, eventually settling on Sir
Stanhope who also adopted the additional surname of Scudamore.

Scudamore and Skidmore.  The table below shows the
breakdown of the number of Scudamores and Skidmores in England in the

Numbers Scudamore Skidmore
Hereford    38     5
Wiltshire     1     2
Somerset    50    28
Gloucs.    48   177
SubTotal   137 (46%)   212 (9%)
Worcs.   261
Warwicks.     8   169
Staffs.     9   486
Elsewhere   153  1,072
Total   300  2,200

There had developed new pockets of Skidmores in Staffordshire (particularly at Kingswinford near Birmingham), at Eyam in Derbyshire, and at Chalfont in Buckinghamshire. 

Geoffrey Scudamore’s Experiences in World War Two.  After quitting farming, a
protected industry during the war, Geoffrey Scudamore joined the Royal Air
Force Volunteer Reserve and took part in his first bombing mission as a
operator.  His Halifax plane flew out of
RAF Lissett south of Bridlington in July 1943 bound for Gelsenkirchen.

Yet on
its return from Germany it was a hit and crash-landing in Nazi-occupied
Belgium.  The crew was captured as held
of war for the next two years.  Fortunate to survive because their
pilot kept
control of the plane and deliberately hit the top of trees to slow its
the bloodied Scudamore sacrificed his own chances of making an escape
freedom in order to help pull stricken colleagues clear of the wreckage.

family back home thought he was dead.  Six
weeks later, a crackly message came through on the radio that he and
comrades were alive and in a prisoner of war camp.

After liberation by the
Soviet army, American and British prisoners were not released for
month.  During this time they were
allowed to forage for food in the area one day a week.
Geoffrey discovered a new racing saddle at an
abandoned farm. When he returned home to Llangarron, this prize was
under his


Scudamore Names

  • Ralph de Scudemer lived at the
    time of William the Conqueror and was the first to assume the Scudamore name. 
  • Colonel John Scudamore was
    the MP for Hereford from 1764 until 1796.   
  • Michael Scudamore from Herefordshire was a National Hunt jockey in the 1950’s and 1960’s who started a notable racing dynasty.  He was the father of jockey Peter Scudamore and the grandfather of jockey Tom Scudamore. 
  • Richard Scudamore from Bristol was the Chief Executive of the English football Premier League from 1999.

Select Scudamore Numbers Today

  • 500 in the UK (most numerous
    in Herefordshire)
  • 200 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


Select Scudamore and Like Surnames

Many surnames originated from SW England, the principal counties there being Devon and Cornwall, Somerset and Gloucestershire.  These are some of the prominent and noteworthy surnames that you can check out.




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