Select Manning Surname Genealogy

The Manning surname in England is thought to have derived from the old Norse word manningi, meaning “brave” or “valiant.”  However, an early Manning family in Kent claimed instead that their name had come from the German place-name of Mannheim in Saxony.  

In Ireland the Gaelic surname of O’Mannin often anglicized to Manning

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England.  The Manning name had appeared in different forms in two main places in England by the 13th century – in Kent in the southeast and in the counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire in East Anglia.

.  The first record of these Mannings was Stephen de Manning who was mentioned in deeds in Kent during the late 13th century.  They came in possession of Downe Court during Tudor times.  Henry Manning held a position at court as Marshal of the King’s Household from the reign of Henry VIII to that of Elizabeth.

A line of these Mannings moved to Greenwich near London in the late 16th century.  Other Mannings remained at Kevington nearby until the 1750’s.

One descendant
William Coventry Manning was a London West India merchant and a planter in St Kitts during the 18th century.  He made his home at Copped Hall near Totteridge in Hertfordshire:
  • his son William, who joined his father’s firm in 1791, served as Governor of the Bank of England in the early 1800’s and was an MP for more than thirty years.
  • his grandson Henry, ordained as an Anglican clergyman, became a leader of the Oxford Movement.  He was appointed the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster in 1865.
East Anglia.  The name appeared in early times as Maninge or Mannyng:
  • Henry Maninge appeared in the Hundred rolls of landowners in Cambridgeshire in 1273.
  • Robert Mannyng from Bourne in Lincolnshire was a Gilbertine monk at St. Edmund’s priory in Cambridge in the early 1300’s.  His history chronicle, Mannyng’s Chronicle, was completed sometime in the 1330’s.
  • John Manning from Great Ellingham in Norfolk was mayor of Norwich in 1413.
  • while the will of John Maninge was recorded at Swaffham in Cambridgeshire in 1631.
The Manning name had by this time spread southward to Suffolk, Essex and London.  In the late 19th century the largest number of Mannings were in London, followed by Suffolk and then Essex.

The Manning name was first recorded in the village of Orlingbury in Northamptonshire in 1673.   Owen Manning, born there in 1721, was a clergyman and antiquarian who moved to Surrey and came to be known as the historian of Surrey.

Ireland.  Manning is the English version of a Galway family who were formerly chiefs of Sodhan, a district co-extensive with the barony of Tiaquin.  They were a pre-Gaelic Sodhan race with roots similar to the Picts of eastern Scotland. 

O'Mainnín, the king of Sodhan, was mentioned in the Chronicon Scotorum as early as the year 1135.  The O'Mainnins continued to form a distinct clan until the early 1600’s, their chief residing at Menlough castle in Killascobe parish. They lost their estates at the time of Cromwell, had some of them restored during the Restoration, but then lost everything when James II was defeated in 1690.  

Later many of these
O'Mainnins became Mannion or Manning.  These names spread from Galway into Roscommon. The name of Dennis O'Mainnin from Kilbride in Roscommon was anglicized to Dennis Manning when he joined or was press-ganged into the British navy in 1825.

Manning in Ireland can also be an English implant, mostly found in Dublin and Cork
.  Thomas Manning held the Rockfield estate in Dublin in the mid 18th century.  A Manning family in the Dunmanway area of Cork dates from the early 1800's.

  Mannings came to both New England and Virginia in the 1630’s. 

New England.  The earliest Manning in America was probably William Manning from Essex who came to Boston in 1634.  His son William was one of the founders of Harvard College in the 1670’s.  It was his son Samuel who acquired some 225 acres at Billerica wherehe built the family homestead, Manning Manse, in 1696.  Over the next hundred years or so, Manning descendants had spread to Vermont, Connecticut, New York, and Ohio.

Manning Manse
deteriorated during the 19th century until it was acquired and restored by a Manning descendant, William H. Manning, in 1902.  William H. Manning was also the author of the 1902 book Manning Families of New England.  At that time it was estimated that there were some 4,000 descendants of the original William Manning. 

Another early Manning was Captain John Manning, a soldier in the British army, who had arrived in Boston in 1656. Eight years later he was Commander at Fort Albany after the British had taken it over from the Dutch.  His Government granted him the island adjacent to Manhattan in the East river now known as FDR Island (it was once called Manning’s island).  His descendants settled in Piscataway, New Jersey. 

.  John Manning from Cambridgeshire came to Virginia in 1635 at the age of 20 with his brother Thomas on the Globe from London.  John and his wife Lydia made their home on the eastern branch of the Elizabeth river in Norfolk county. 

A line through Moses Manning moved south to South Carolina and had received land grants in Georgia by the year 1800. 
One line from Moses extended to Drew, a small town in Mississippi where Archie Manning grew up in the 1950’s.  He became a famous NFL quarterback; as were his two sons Peyton and Eli.  The family story was recounted in the 2013 documentary The Book of Manning.

Irish arrivals
.  Laurence Manning came from Killarney to Pennsylvania and fought on the American side with General Lee’s Legion Infantry during the Revolutionary War.  His son Richard I. Manning, grandson John L. Manning, and great grandson Richard I. Manning III all became Governors of South Carolina.  John and his wife Susan had their Millford plantation near Pinewood built in 1839.  The house survived destruction during the Civil War and is now a National Historic Landmark.

Most Mannings from Ireland arrived during the 19th century.  Among them were:
  • Michael and Elizabeth Manning from Cork who came in 1844 and settled in upstate New York, later moving onto Illinois and then Arkansas. 
  • Patrick Manning from Galway who came to the Carolinas in 1849 and fought with the Confederacy in the Civil War.
  • and George and Bridget Manning from the Aran islands in Galway who came to Boston in the 1850's.
Canada.  Peter Manning with his wife Nancy and large family came from Ireland via Philadelphia to Nova Scotia in 1770.  Six years later Peter was tried, convicted, and hanged for murdering a neighbor.  His third son Edward had a wild unruly childhood before, after a “Great Awakening,” becoming a Baptist preacher of much force and persuasion.

George Manning arrived much later, in 1896, and from England.  His son Ernest Manning, born and raised in a small farm on the Canadian Prairies, rose to be the long-serving Premier of Alberta - from 1943 to 1968.  Apparently it was the evangelical broadcasts of future Premier William Aberhart which inspired him to follow that path.  Ernest’s son Preston was the founder and leader of the Canadian Reform Party.

Australia.  John Manning, a baker, and his wife Margaret were Irish immigrants from county Cork who came to Darlinghurst, NSW in the 1840’s.  Their son William prospered in finance in Sydney where he became mayor in 1891 and was later knighted.

Henry Manning, a London builder, was in 1840 an early landowner in the Swan river colony in Western Australia.  He in fact had designed the pre-fabricated Manning timber cottages that were used by the first settlers.  His younger brother Charles came out to manage the estates in the early 1850’s.  John Daniel Manning came about this time too and was a dairy farmer in the area.  Their name has been perpetuated in Manning, now a suburb of Perth

Select Manning Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Manning Names

Robert Mannyng was the author of Mannyng’s Chronicle, an early English history, in 1338.
Thomas Manning was the first Englishman to enter the forbidden city of Lhasa in Tibet in 1811.
Cardinal Henry Manning was a leading Anglican figure of the Oxford Movement in early Victorian times who later converted to Catholicism.  He became the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster in 1865.
Archie Manning
was a star American NFL quarterback in the 1970’s and 1980’s and father of two star quarterbacks, Peyton and Eli Manning.

Patrick Manning
was Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago for thirteen years between 1991 and 2010.

Select Mannings Today
  • 20,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 28,000 in America (most numerous in Florida) 
  • 18,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 1,000 surnames.

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