Osberns in eleventh century               

     In England today the names such as O'brien, Patel, Goldstein give an instant clue about racial origin. In the eleventh century the sound of a Norman, Saxon or Viking name was just identifiable. Many common first names are obviously Norman e.g. Norman, William, Hugh, Henry, Richard, Guy, Jocelyn, Gerald, Ralph, Miles, Humphrey. Other common Norman first names are no longer fashionable e.g. Osbern, Odo, Drogo, Baldrick. Saxon names include Edwin, Edward, Alfred, Arthur, Cedric, Gilbert or unfashionable ones like Ulfric, Brictric. Viking names are Eric, Rolf, Harald.

     Osbern (often spelt Osbn) comes from a group of Norman names like Osward, Oswold, Osbert, Osmund, Osmelin, Oslac, Osgot.  The prefix Os or Od in Norse means "of superior status".

     The Domesday Survey gives a comprehensive record of land holdings in England in 1086. Ninety percent of land had been transferred from Saxon to Norman ownership. When land is still in the ownership of the pre-conquest owner it is usually stated. Many entries merely record holdings by "Osbern" or "Osbn" Some entries list "Osbern the Priest" or "Osbern the Falconer". More identifiably Norman are "Osbern D'Arcis", "Osbern de Sacey" "Osbern de Wancey", "Osbern d'Eu".

     Even before the conquest there were close ties between England and Normandy. Edward the Confessor had named William, Duke of Normandy as his chosen successor for the crown of England. His chaplain was a Norman called Osbern (Later Bishop Osbern of Exeter). There must have been other Osberns in England before 1066.

     Several English place names have Osbern roots e.g.Osberton in Nottinghamshire (from Osbernstune), Osbournby in Lincolnshire (from Osbernbi) and Osbaston in Shropshire (from Osbernstune). The ending tune or tun means settlement or farmstead. The ending -bi or -by means town (viking).

The tables below attempts to trace Osberns involved in the conquest followed by Domesday entries:

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Editors Notes


The most prominent of Osborne warriors was:   
William FitzOsbern  (b.1030 Poitiers d.1071 battle of Flanders).  Built Clifford Castle. Created Earl of Hereford. Granted lands in Isle of Wight. Hence(?), Osborne House, favourite home of Queen Victoria.
  Osbern Giffard(?)
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Also see Usbornes in the Dark Ages

   Last updated:15 Mar 2004

Geographical distribution of the name Osbern from the Domesday book of 1086

 English County

Location/land holding

Held by

Kent Land near Deal on east coast
Land at Lullingstone (?)
Osbern son of Ledhard 
Osbern Paisforiere
Hampshire Farringdon.
Bishop Osbern
Osbern the falconer
Herefordshire Bodenham, Byton, Edvin Loach, Knill, Little Brampton, Lyde, Lye, Milton, Nash, Newton, Richards castle, Staunton on Arrow, Titeley, Wapley, Whyle, Discoed, Harpton Osbern FitzRichard 
Bedfordshire Carlton, Sharnbrook
Easton, Keysoe, Riseley
Little Barford
Osbern Fisher 
Osbern FitzRichard
Osbern Fitzwalter
Berkshire Cumnor,
Early, West Hanney
Osbern Giffard
Cheshire Caldecott, Claverton, Handbridge, Kinnerton, Pulford, Wardle, Allington, Broughton, Eyton
Dodleston, Dutton, Golborne, Grappenhall, Handley, Lymm, Poulton Lancelyn, Warburton, Winnington
Hugh FitzOsbern

Osbern FitzTezzo 

Cornwall Stratton, Treliever Bishop Osbern
Devon Benton, Bishop's Nympton, Bishop's Tauton, Bishopsteignton, Branscombe, Bury, Chudleigh Knighton, Crediton, Culmstock, Dawlish, Dittisham, Churches in Exeter, Haxton, Ide, St Mary Church, Salcombe Regis, Slapton, Staverton, Stoke Canon, Talaton,
Sydeham, Tapeley,
Clyst Gerred, Lambert, Parford, Shilston,
Bishop Osbern of Exeter


Osbern from Ludhael 
Osbern de Sacey

Dorset Goldhill Osbern
Essex Epping, Tilbury, Wheatley, Wickford Osbern
Gloucestershire Brimpsfield, Knowle, Oldland, Rockhampton, Tytherinton
Condicote, Long Newnton,
Osbern Giffard

Osbern Fitz-Richard
Leicestershire Broughton Astley, Keythorpe, Lubenham, Stonton Wyville, Thorpe Langton, Welham, Osbern
Lincolnshire  Cherry Willingham, Easton, Newball, Skillington, Stainton, Wickenby
Faldingworth, Marston
Redbourne, Scawby,

Osbern the priest
Osbern d'Arcis
Osbern the Clerk (to Bishop of Lincoln)
Norfolk Banham, Forncett, Hindringham, Tasburgh, Wick Bishop Osbern
Northampton Croughton, Culworth,Welton Osbern
Shropshire Ashford, Badger, Brockton, Burford, Ludford, Milson, Neen Sollars, Ryton, Tetstill, Ackhill, Stanage
Osbern Fitz-Richard

Somerset Woodborough Osbern Giffard
Staffordshire Milwich Osbern
Suffolk Asbocking
Depden, Higham, Raydon
Osbern de Wancey
Osbern Masculus
Surrey Leatherhead
Osbern d'Eu
Bishop of Osbern
Sussex Beech, Bexhill, Bodiam, Eckington, Penhurst, Peston Bedddingham, Tilton, Waldron, West Dean, West Firle, Willingdon
Bosham, East Lavington, Elsted, Etchingwood, West Thorney, Preston Binderton
Laughton, Willingdon

Bishop Osbern of Exeter

Osbern FitzGeoffrey
Warwickshire Aston Cantlow, Barford, Dunchurch, Hillborough, Stretton on Fosse, Temple Grafton, Wilmcote
Osbern FitzRichard

Wiltshire Chippenham
Britford, Homington
Elstone, Hill Deverill, Orcheston, Sherington, Tytherington Kellaways, Ugford
Bishop Osbern of Exeter
Osbern the Priest
Osbern Giffard
Worcestershire Berington, Carton, Clifton upon Teme, Crowle, Droitwich, Elmbridge, Homme Castle, Kyre, Lower Sapey, Shelsley, Stanfor on Tene, Tenbury Wells, Worcester, Wychbold  Osbern FitzRichard
Yorkshire Scorby
Appleton Roebuck, Askham Richard, Bilton, Burnsall, Catterton, Colton, Drebley, Green Hammerton, Hebden, Hessay, Hornington, Hutton Wandesley, Kirby Hall, Kirk Hammerton, Knapton, Long Marston, Nether Poppleton, Newton Kyme, Nun Monkton, Oglethorpe, Scagglethorpe, Silsden, Steeton, Stutton, Susacres, Thorp Arch, Thorpe, Tockwith, Upper Poppleton, Walton, Whixley, Wilstrop, 
Osbern D'Arcis
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