Tindall Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Tindall Surname Meaning

Tynedale, the valley of the river Tyne in Northumberland, derived from the Celtic word tina meaning ‘to flow” and the old English word doel meaning “valley.” 

The first person to bear the name was Adam de Tindale, a Saxon baron at Tynedale in the 12th century who had adopted the Norman name-style.  “The pipe rolls at that time were written in Latin which explained the use of ‘i’ rather than ‘y’ in the name.  There is no ‘y’ in Latin.” 

Tindall and Tyndall are the modern versions of the name.

Select Tindall Surname Resources on The Internet

Tindall and Tyndall Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Yorkshire and Lincolnshire)
  • to Ireland, America and Australia

EnglandThe Tyndale name probably began with the Tyndale barony in Northumberland in the 12th century.  But the principal male line there died out a century or so later and left little trace in Northumberland.

Thus one must search elsewhere for Tyndales, Tyndalls, and Tindalls.

The senior Tyndale line became the Tyndalls of Tansover in Northamptonshire who were then followed by the Tyndalls at Hockwald in Norfolk and at Mapplestead in Essex.  It was said that two members of this family were offered, and declined, the throne of Bohemia in the 15th century.

There was also a Tyndale line at Melksham Court in Gloucestershire, from whom, it is believed, came William Tyndale, the first man in 1525 to translate the Bible into English (he was later burnt at the stake for this heresy).

When the male Tyndall line at Mapplestead died out in the 17th century, seniority was then said to have passed to the Rev. John Tindal, the rector of Bere Ferris in Devon.  His eldest son Matthew Tindal was a controversial religious writer of the early 1700’s, as was his nephew the Rev. Nicolas Tindal:

  • Matthew’s two brothers Thomas and Richard emigrated to New Jersey; while his other brother John was the father of Nicolas.  
  • the line from Nicolas led to Sir Nicolas Tindal who was the Lord Chief Justice of England from 1829 to 1845 and to his son Louis Tindal, made a vice-admiral of the Royal Navy in 1874.  This Tindal line was also to be found at Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.

There have been other Tindalls and Tyndalls. The 1881 census recorded some 2,000 Tindalls and Tyndalls in England, of which 43% were to be found in Yorkshire and 15% in Lincolnshire.

Yorkshire.  One branch of the main family was based from the 1500’s at Brotherton in north Yorkshire near Selby.  The last male of this line was Bradwardin Tindall.  He left an only daughter whose daughter was the mother of the General Wolfe who was killed at the capture of Quebec in 1759.

A Tindall family of uncertain origins were shipbuilders at Scarborough from the 17th to the mid-19th century.  These Tindalls later acquired tea and coffee plantations in Ceylon which they held until 1938.

The Tindall name also appeared at Cowlam and Rillington in Yorkshire.  And Mike Tindall – the rugby player who married Zara, daughter of Princess Anne, in 2008 – has his roots in north Yorkshire.  His ancestor William Tindall, born in 1834, farmed in Fairborn. 

Lincolnshire.  The earliest recorded was probably Gervase Tyndall, a schoolmaster at Grantham in 1535. Robert, the son of Henry Tindall, was born at Scopwick in 1592.  He moved to Coleby where his family settled.

Two brothers, William and Robert Tyndall, were very successful Bristol merchants in the 16th century.  However, they did not come from Bristol.  They appear to have been the sons of a husbandman, Thomas Tyndall, of Belton in Lincolnshire.

Ireland.  Tyndalls from Gloucestershire came to Ireland at the time of Cromwell, with John Tyndall being granted land in Wexford in 1658. His descendants were local gentry in New Ross, holding estates at Ballyanne House and Berkeley Forest.

Tyndalls in Waterford and Carlow also had Gloucestershire roots.  John Tyndall from Carlow, born in Leighlinbridge in 1820, became a world-renowned scientist, best remembered today for explaining why the sky is blue. One Tyndall line in Waterford led to John Tyndall, the founder of the British National Front party in the 1980’s.

America.  Two early arrivals in New Jersey, as part of Fenwick’s colony, were the brothers Thomas and Richard Tindall from Devon in 1678. Thomas was the progenitor of the Tindalls of Mercer county, New Jersey.

Carolinas.  Robert Tindall is thought to have migrated south from Mercer county in New Jersey to South Carolina in the 1760’s.  He may have been the reason for much of the Tindall population in South Carolina, notably in Spartanburg county.

Alexander Tindall from South Carolina was one of the first Baptist ministers to circuit the state of Florida. He made his home in Osceola county where he married the daughter of an Indian chief. He died there in 1899.  His son George was an early settler in Palm Beach. George’s cracker-style house, built in 1892, is considered the oldest existing home in Palm Beach county.

Meanwhile James Tindall arrived in North Carolina from England via Philadelphia in the 1760’s.  His family later spelled themselves Tyndall and settled in Greene county.

Irish.  Robinson Tyndale from Carlow in Ireland came to Philadelphia in 1804 and established himself as a china and glass merchant, as did his son Hector. Through Robinson’s wife Sarah, an abolitionist, they were close friends with the poet Walt Whitman.  Another son of the family, Sharon, moved to Illinois and served as its Secretary of State.

Australia.  Two early arrivals were convicts.

Daniel Tyndall from Surrey was found guilty of treason for his part under the Despard Conspiracy to kill King George III.  Initially he was given the barbaric sentence of being hung, drawn and quartered.  This was then commuted to transportation for life.  He departed for Sydney on the Duke of Portland in 1807.

John Tindall was given the death sentence at York Assizes in 1809 for burglary. This was also commuted to transportation for life.  He departed for Sydney on the Indian in 1810.

Both wives and their children followed these two convicts to Australia on later dates. Daniel lived until 1827, John to 1836.

Charles Tindal, the grandson of Sir Nicolas Tindal, came out to New South Wales in 1843 and prospered as a cattle breeder and meat processor. At its peak Charles’s meat processing company slaughtered 35,000 beasts a year and was well established on the English market. One of his descendants Archibald Tindal was killed during the bombing of Darwin in 1942. After the war Carson’s Airfield was renamed RAAF Base Tindal in his honor.

Irish Tyndalls came to Australia.  Robert Tyndall was in Melbourne in 1855 and may have joined his brother Joseph, who arrived seven years later, on a gold-mining expedition to New Zealand. Their father William had been born in Carlow and was probably related to the scientist John Tyndall.

Tindall and Tyndall Surname Miscellany

The Tyndale Barony in Northumberland.  The earliest feudal records indicate that an Adam de Tindale was the feudal baron of South Tynedale and of Langley castle, both in Northumberland.  Considering the dates, his position and territorial designation, it is probable that this baron was either the son or grandson of Uchtred, the Saxon lord of Tyndale and of Princess Bethoc of Scotland.

Adam was succeeded by his son Adam who held the barony during the reign of Richard I of England, paid 100 pounds for his relief, with livery of his land, in 1194.  He appears to have died in 1224.  He left two daughters who became co-heirs to the Tyndale barony and to Langley castle.

The elder, Philippa, married Adam Nicholas de Bolteby and conveyed to her husband the barony of South Tynedale.  It passed through inheritance in the female line to the Earls of Northumberland.

William Tyndale and the English Bible.  William Tyndale was born around 1494 in Gloucestershire and educated at Oxford and Cambridge University where he became a strong supporter of church reform. He was ordained as a priest around 1521.

Two years later Tyndale moved to London with the intention of translating the New Testament into English, an act that was strictly forbidden.  He passionately believed that the Bible should determine the practice and doctrine of the Church and that people should be able to read the Bible in their own language.

Tyndale was setting himself against the established Church in England as these sorts of ideas were closely associated with Martin Luther and other controversial Protestant religious reformers.

In 1524 Tyndale left England for Germany with the aid of London merchants. He hoped to continue his translation work in greater safety and sought out the help of Martin Luther at Wittenberg. Just one year after his English New Testament was completed and printed in Cologne in 1525, copies were being smuggled into England – the first ever Bibles written in the English vernacular.

Tyndale’s work was denounced by authorities of the Catholic Church and Tyndale himself was accused of heresy.  He went into hiding and began work on a translation of the Old Testament directly from Hebrew into English. The emissaries of King Henry VIII and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey were unable to track him down and the location of Tyndale’s hiding place has remained a mystery to this day.

Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church in 1534 signaled the beginning of the English Reformation and Tyndale believed it was safe to carry on his work in public.  He moved to Antwerp and began to live more openly.

But soon afterwards Tyndale was betrayed by his friend Henry Phillips. He was arrested for heresy and imprisoned for over 500 days in Vilvoorde castle.  On 6 October 1536, Tyndale was tried and convicted of heresy and treason and put to death by being strangled and burned at the stake.  It was reported that Tyndale’s last words before his death were “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”

By this time several thousand copies of his New Testament had been printed.  Just three years later Henry VIII had published his own English Great Bible, based on Tyndale’s work.

Tindalls and Tyndalls Today

Numbers (000’s) Tindall Tyndall Total
UK    3.4    0.6    4.0
America    3.2    2.4    5.6
Elsewhere    1.9    0.8    2.7
Total    8.5    3.8   12.3

The Tindall Family at Scarborough.  The Tindall family have a long history as shipbuilders in Scarborough from the 17th century.  When James Tindall died in 1748, the Tindall yard passed to his son John.

This John married and they bought the King Richard III house at Sandside from the Cockerill shipbuilding family.  Their ten children were born there.  When Robert Tindall was born in 1764, there were ten gallons of gin at the bed-head for visitors.

The house became Robert’s residence and then was used as the Tindall’s office and store-room.  Plans show the stems of ships being built on the sands opposite and reaching towards his house.  The Tindalls vacated the building in 1801.

The shipbuilding ended at Scarborough in 1863.

Reader Feedback – Robert Tindall from Fenwick’s Colony to South Carolina.  Robert Tindall is my fourth great grandfather. Can you tell me if there is any documentation of his having been at Fenwick’s Colony?  For two decades I lived across the river in Delaware without learning this!

I have looked at the plots of land around Robert’s and see that they were granted at very different times, so he was not part of a group immigration that arrived in Charleston together, like my Copelands. He could very well have come down from the mid-Atlantic.

Thanks, Hershel Parker (argulusezekiel@gmail.com)

Reader Feedback – James Tindall in Virginia and North Carolina.  I’m from the James Tindall (Tyndale, Tyndal) line. He moved from Virginia to North Carolina and his son moved to Mississippi. From what someone on FamilySearch has put together, my ancestors are from Lincolnshire.

Theresa Tindall (theresapye@gmail.com).

John Tindall, Convict to Australia.  John Tindall was born in Willitoft near Bubwith in the East Riding of Yorkshire in 1779, the son of John and Frances Tindall Hawkins.  He married Charlotte Thompson in 1802 at Bubwith and they had four children.

In 1809, however, he was tried for burglary at York Assizes, having been found guilty of stealing two quarters of linseed and two sacks.  The prosecution alleged that he was part of a dangerous gang and he was given the death penalty.  This was later commuted to transportation for life to Australia.

John was transported from England on the Indian in July 1810.  The Indian arrived in Australia in December that year.  His wife Charlotte followed him and arrived in Sydney in October 1811 aboard the Friends.  She presumably brought their four children, although if the death dates are correct the three eldest died in 1815.  They had a further five children born in Australia.

John was granted his ticket of leave in early 1812 after having helped to build a new road over the mountains. But his health was never good, after having suffered a paralytic stoke.  The family struggled to survive, as the following document from 1824 revealed:

“John Tindall is conditionally free and lives on a rented farm by his industry, on which he maintains his wife (who joined him free in this colony) and six children.  He finds his most industrious and persevering efforts barely adequate to a mere subsistence for his family and having never received any land or other indulgence from the Government, he now approaches your Excellency in humble hope of being considered worthy to participate in your bounty.”

John died in the Sydney suburb of Castlereagh in 1836, aged fifty-nine.  Three of his sons – William, George and John – did live to a sixty plus age. They had moved away from Sydney and settled at Cowra in the Central Highlands of NSW.

Tindall and Tyndall Names

  • Adam de Tindale was the Saxon baron in Northumberland in the 12th century who is considered to be the progenitor of later Tyndalls and Tindalls. 
  • William Tyndale was in 1525 the first man to translate the Bible into English.  For this he was convicted of heresy and burnt at the stake. 
  • John Tyndall from Carlow in Ireland was one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century.  He is best remembered popularly as the man who first explained why the sky is blue. 
  • Sir Stephen Tindall has been the founder of the very successful The Warehouse retail chain in New Zealand.
  • Mike Tindall is the former rugby union player for England who married into the British Royal Family.

Tindall and Tyndall Numbers Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous in Yorkshire)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in South Carolina)
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

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Written by Colin Shelley

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