The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname

Algood

 
     The Saxon Chronicle is a manuscript which was painstakingly researched by monks of the 10th century and now dwells in the British Museum.  Emerging through the Chronicles of history is one of the oldest family names, Algood and the distinguished history of this surname is interwoven into the tapestry of the history of England.
     Historical analysts have used many sources in the preparation of your history such as the Domesday Book, The Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, the Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records and other ancient documents and found the first record of the name Algood, in the counties of Northumberland and Durham, although not of Boernician origin as were most of the families in that area.  Originally found in the Domesday Book compiled in 1086 by King William after his conquest of England in 1066, as Algod, the name gradually changed to Allgood.
     The Surname Algood, was found in the archives, the name was sometimes revealed as Allgood, Algod, Algood, Elgood, Elgod, and these changes in spelling occurred even between father and son.  It was not uncommon, for example, for a person to be born with one spelling variation, married with another, and for yet another to appear on his gravestone.   Scribes spelt the name the way it sounded as it was told to them.  From century to century spellings changed.
     The family name Algood was found to be descended from the Saxon race.  The Saxons were a faired skin people led by the brothers General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa, who settled in England from about the year 400 A.D.  They settled firstly on the south east coast, coming from the Rhine Valley.  They spread north and westward from Kent and during the next four hundred years forced Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall to the west, Cumbria and Scotland to the north.  The Angles held the eastern coastline, the south folk in Suffolk, the north folk in Norfolk.  Under Anglo/Saxon five century rule the nation divided into five separate kingdoms, a high king being elected as supreme ruler.  Alfred the Great emerged in the 9th century as the Saxon leader to dispel the Danish invasion.
     England, by 1066, was ably led by Harold, King of the Saxons was enjoying reasonable peace and prosperity.  The Norman invasion from France under Duke Williams of Normandy, and their victory at the the Battle of Hastings, found Saxon land owners to be forgeited their land.  William, with an army of 40,000, drove north, wasting the northern counties.  Both rebellious Norman nobles and Saxons fled over the border into Scotland.  Those Saxons who remained were restive under Norman rule, and many moved northward to the midlands, Lanashire and Yorkshire where Norman influence revailed less.
     The family name Algood emerged as a notable English family name in the county of Northumberland where they held extensive lands at Nunwick and were known locally as landed gentry.  The full history of this branch may be found in Burke's "Landed Gentry" 1965 edition.  Lancelot John Allgood was head of this branch of the family at the time.  Notable amongst the family at this time was John Allgood of Nunwick.
     The next two of three centuries found the surname Algood flourishing and contributing greatly to the culture of the nation.  During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, England was ravaged by religious conflict.  Protestantism, the newly found political fervour of Cromwellianism, and the remnants of the Roman Church rejected all but the most ardent followers.  As each group gained poer during these turbulent times many were burnt at the stake but many more were banished from the land, losing their titles, estates and status.  Many families were freely "encouraged" tomigrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies".  Some were rewarded with grants of lands, others were indentured as servants for as long as ten years.
     In Ireland they became known as the "Adventurers for land in Ireland".  They were government sponsored Protestant settlers who "undertook" to keep their faith, being granted lands previously owned by the Catholic Irish for only nominal payment.  They were also known as the "Undertakers".  There is no record of this distinguished family migrating to Ireland, however, this does not preclude the possibility of individual migration.
     These unsettling times were disturbing and the New World beckoned the adventourous.  They migrated, some voluntarily from Ireland, some by Army service, but mostly directly from England, their home territories.  Some also moved to the European continent.   Members of the family name Algood sailed aboard the armada of small sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic.  These overcrowded ships were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination, their numbers decimated by sickness and the elements.   Many were buried at sea.
     Included amonst the first migrants who settled in North America which could be considered a kinsman of the surname Algood, or a variable spelling of that family name was John Allgood settled in the Barbados islands in 1674, being one of the first settlers in North America.  It is believed he later moved to the mainland.
     The east coast ports were crowded.  From the port of entry many settlers trekked their way west, joining the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast.  During the American War of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.  They were granted equivalent lands along the banks of the St. Lawrence River and in the Niagara Peninsula.  Contemporary notables of the surname Algood, include many distinguished contributors Clarence William Allgood, notable U.S. Judge, author of numerous textbooks on law.
     During the course of our reserch we also determined the many Coat of Armes granted to different branches of the family name.
     The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was:
          On a silver background a red cross between four blue stars, with three roses at the top.
     The Crest was:
          Two hands in armour holding a human heart.
     The ancient family Motto for this distinguished name was:
          "Ago omne bonum"

 


Return to Algood Family