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The Origins of the Name Collinson

This was passed to me by Joe Collinson



Extract from the book ‘SURNAMES OF SCOTLAND” by George F. Black, Ph.D.

“COLLISON, may be son of Collie, a diminutive of Nicholas. Collison, an old surname in Aberdeenshire described in 1732 as “one of the chief surnames here of old” (View page 126). The same writer says that he Collisone of Mauchlunies or Auchen laumes have been there for fifteen generations. They had their burial place in one of the two aisles of St. Nicholas Church, Aberdeen. John Coleoun was burgess of Banff in 1487. John Colyson, David Colyson, and John Colison were admitted burgesses in Aberdeen in 1489 and 1476. Robert Colisoun was a presbyter in 1489, and John Colisone was presented to the vicarage of Inverness in 1497. Schir John Colison or Colleson, subchanter of Ald Aberdeen in 1577, died in 1584. Duncane Colisone was “forespekar” of an assize in Aberdeen in 1505, and Gilbert Colinsoune or Collisoune appears as burgess of Aberdeen in 1574 and 1591.

Thomas Collisoune of Auchlownie was heir of John Collisoune, his father, in 1623, and Johannes Collesounes was burgess in Aberdeen in 1674, Coleson 1518, Collison 1511, Collesoune 1574, Colliesone 1674, Collison 1475, Collisone 1663, Collyson 1502, Collysone 1633.

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According to the editor of “The People’s Friend” weekly magazine of Dundee, The Collinson’s had no clan connections but they originated in Aberdeenshire in the thirteenth century. They were probably Norse settlers from Norway.

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Collinson is pronounced Collison in Teesdale, Collison being the original name.



(Research results from England in the Year 2000 on the Collinson Name.)

“It might seem odd or perhaps fanciful, but the Collinson families world-wide are descended from a family group who arrived in England before the Norman Conquest - 1066 AD.

Page III
They were Danish people who settled in East Anglia about 950AD where they cleared the land and farmed for about 200 years. By the time that they arrived, England was united under one Anglo Saxon King although times were troubled by conflicts with Danish and Norwegian Vikings.

Those East Anglian Danes were at peace with the Saxon and Norman communities and remained so until the time of King John - John Lackland - as he was called, because his land holdings were still in the hands of mainly the Saxons and his French territories were gradually lost through continuous wars in France. To rectify this imbalance, John sequestrated any land that he could grab.

About the end of the 12th Century, he sent his soldiers into East Anglia to take the lands then held by the Saxons and Norman Barons - it was this land grabbing that caused a revolt of the Barons who captured London, then forced John to Magna Carta.

The Collinson’s (not the spelling of the time) were driven from their lands, some went to the London area, some to Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. Not all were to give up so easily and tried to defend what they held. Rounded up by the soldiers, they were banished to Scotland where they remain to this day.

Few were to be recorded in history until 1625 when John Collinson of Nottingham Town was several times mayor, and on his death bequeathed money to support the Free School in what is today called High Pavement. It seems that his widow contested the will and it is thought that the school never received the bequest!

In the 18th century near Mansfield town, they were yeoman farmers where my Gt/g/father x 41 was born at Morehaigh. We have not found a record of his baptism or burial because of a large number of Williams’ that were around.

Gt/g/father x 3 2 also William baptized Mansfield 14 Sept 1794 married Anne Hazard Dec. 1817 at Normanton-on-Trent. Anne buried at Laxton 1821.

It is thought that William had married unwisely and it seems that he was ostracized and although a literate and numerate man - not common for the time - he took to being a farm labourer in spring, summer, and autumn and carried in the trade of framework knitter during the winter.

After the death of Anne, he moved to Radford Village - now part of Nottingham - where he became a lacemaker. In 1826 he married again at Radford to Elizabeth Eyre and after that confusions sets in. Some of his family were born at Radford - recognized as the worst place in England to live. It was a warren of narrow alleys where water and sewage ran along a gutter and water was drawn from polluted wells - infant mortality was about 50%. From this point, my 3 branch remained very poor and lived in poverty for many decades.

At Blidworth near Mansfield in 1818, Thomas impregnated Mary Marshall and was ordered by the Church Wardens and Overseers of the Poor to pay five shillings for her ‘lying-in period’ and two shillings per week in her support - he married her in 1824.

James4 born 1825 at Mansfield was a man of talent and wide interests, and is almost certainly attached to my5 branch as a photograph 1880 shows that his features are much the same as my6 uncle. James entered the Royal Academy and School of Art and is one of the seven pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He was a water color artist, poet, theatre critic, and stockbroker and lived in Broadmarsh, Nottingham. The Collinson’s still live at Mansfield but have ignored any attempt at communication7 .

Those in London never amounted to much.8 In 1865, John was executed for forgery and presenting a false money draft on Sir William Hankey’s Bank. William was executed for horse stealing in 1774.

The Yorkshire Collinson’s seem to have fared well, there being several well placed families, and in the Yorkshire Records Office and York City Library there is a wealth of information.

Thomas Barnard Collinson9, a native of Gateshead, North Yorkshire, was a captain in the Royal Navy and spent some time in New Zealand just after the settlement of the colony in 1840, In a letter to his mother - 1848 - he described in detail the great Wellington earthquake and gave a good physical description of two Maori chiefs who had been a bit troublesome. He eventually wrote “Seven Years on the Pacific Rim” (“as near as I can remember the title”10. He had a relative Christopher Barnard Collinson who was vicar of Laxton Church in Nottinghamshire.Richard Collinson of Wensly in North Yorkshire was a tailor, he stole a bag of barley in 1733 and was sentenced at the Thirsk assizes to seven years transportation to Annapolis.

Nothing is know the Scottish branch excepting for Angus Collinson who settled in New Zealand
and was a water colour artist.

There are Collinson’s in Australia, origin not know, and went there about 1840.”



According to a quote on Internet dealing with HAMMET’s writing of four stories under the nom de plume “Peter Collinson”–the name “Peter Collinson” is an inside joke–to tramps and criminals at that time a “Peter Collinson” is a nobody, a John Doe.


Admiral Sir Richard COLLINSON cited in the footnote #9 in NOTE #2 has been fairly well written up in various publications. These deal with his Arctic adventures in search of the Franklin Expedition. A recent publication, “The Franklin Conspiracy” devotes Chapter 14 to him. It is not terribly kind to him however in Chapter 21 the author offers a ray of hope “Collinson had spent of that hapless earlier voyage drunk in his cabin. Had he been something less than a willing accomplice to the machinations of his superiors?”.

The author in this book is trying to build the case for a Royal Navy Conspiracy to neither actively nor honestly search for Franklin.

In the Book, “Barrow’s Boys”, he is not treated very much better, but on Pages 429/430, it states “Collinson received no credit at all for the discovery of the North West Passage, a fact that justifiably outraged him”.

NOTE #5 From Sources of Surnames:

Collison – This became a surname in a round-about way, Nicholas was a common and popular name during the Middle Ages. A pet form of the name evolved as Coll, and was often found as a given name. Collin evolved as a pet or diminutive form of Coll. Collison is a variation of Collinson, meaning the “son of Collin.” Collis, Collyns, are other forms.

It should be noted that Nicholas is a Greek name meaning ‘Victory’ and ‘People’

Page VI

There are a number of Place Names–Including but not limited to Fort Collinson, Canada; Collinson Bay, Collinson Inlet, Collinson St., , Collinson Ave., and on and on.

The name shows up in a great many countries of the world from France to Norway and obviously, in all the English speaking ones. We have been involved in all the wars of the U.K. and probably in a lot of the others. Our people are prelates, crooks, admirals, wino’s, generals, privates, merchants, politicians, Playboy Playmates, etc. and so (in other words-- normal human beings). For you Robin Hood Fans–John Collinson was Sheriff of Nottingham in 1536/37. We have married well, married not at all, and married poorly. We have made millions (some even individually) and spent millions.

Owner/SourceJoe Collinson

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