Sunday, October 28, 2007

English and Scottish Cullens in 1881

As some of you might know, there were only a few places in England
where the name Cullen was found in the 1800s: the main areas were
central England (Nottinghamshire and surrounding area), southwest
England (Somerset), the cities of London and Liverpool (probably
mainly recent Irish immigrants) and a very high concentration in the
extreme southeast of England--Kent!
You can see the map for England, Scotland and Wales at the surname
profiler (link corrected November 2016)
here (click on the 'Search for a Surname' circle, then type the surname Cullen and select the year 1881):

Has anyone investigated the census in more detail for 1881 to see which Cullen families originated in Ireland versus Scotland or England? This would be especially interesting for the Cullens in Scotland. I'm about to start some research on the censuses available at so let me know if you have already done some work on this so I don't repeat it.

Here's a note that Jim Cullen of the best Cullen genealogy website sent me (his website address is

(3rd S. xi. 84,161,323.)
Your correspondents ALTER and C.T. COLLINS TRELAWNY may find the following of service:-
Mr. M.A. Lower, in his Patronymica Britannica, derives the English names Culling, Collins, &c. - the Scottish Cullen and Cullan - the Irish Cullen - from Cuillean and O'Cuillean, the tribe-name of some Irish clan. He may be possibly right as far as the Irish "Cullen" or "Cullin" is concerned. He is totally wrong about the Scottish Cullen - a name properly spelt Cullayne or Cullane, and borne by a family who held lands of that ilk near the stream of the same name in Banffshire as early as the thirteenth century. Respecting the English "Collins," &c. he has made an equally hasty and erroneous decision. A glance at any Armory or Heraldry will show that all the English families spelling their name indifferently Cullen, Collen, Culling, Cullinge, and Collins - whether of Kent, Essex, Staffordshire, or Devon - are of one stock, bearing the griffin segreant (differenced) on their shield, and probably all having their origin in a parent stem deriving its name from the village of C
ulinge, in the hundred of Riseburge, Suffolk, mentioned in Domesday (292b.) as owned by "Comes Alanus."
In Kent the form of Cullen is most common. Folkestone churchyard is full of tombstones bearing it; and it may be traced at Canterbury, and all along the east coast and Isle of Thanet.
A gentleman who settled at Woodlands, near Ashburton, Devon, is called Cullen in the county histories, and Culling in the Harl. MSS. where his arms are given. His line terminated in an heiress who, four or five generations back, married Fursdon of Fursdon. In Essex, Collen appears most usual, and still exists there in a good family. Collins is a corruption found everywhere. Any good heraldry will give every variation of the name and difference of the coat armour. There is but one exception to the rule that all this family of names derive from one original "Culinge"; and that, although no one now exists of the race who bore it, it may be as well to mention. Richard Cullen, of an ancient family of Breda in the Duchy of Brabant, descended from Arnould von Ceulen, living A.D. 1300, came to England on the persecution of the Protestants by the Duke of Alva. His son or grandson was created a baronet by Charles II. The family, however, became extinct, apparently even in the female
line, in 1730. (Burke, Extinct Baronetcies.)


[The village of Culinge in Suffolk is now known as Cowlinge.]
[The word Comes appears in documents during the reign of the Conqueror, and later. It appears at least thirty-five times in the Doomsday Book (Index Nominum Personarum, Libri vocati Exon' Domesday, p. 606), beginning with such names as: Comes Alanus, Comes Albericus, and so on. Comes in this case has sometimes been mistaken for a family name. Comes, therefore, in this instance means simply Earl (also a follower, or companion). The pronunciation is Co-mes, in two syllables.]



Anonymous said...

John CUllen went to live in the St Giles area of London between 1860 and 1874. He left Ireland because of the great famine. Whether he lost his 1st family in Ireland or England, (because of the Cholera epidemic) I don't know. But he married my Great Grand mother from Kings Lynn Norfolk in 1874 and a branch of the Cullens from COrk have lived here ever since.

Bernie said...

That's very interesting, because Cullen was a rare surname in Cork in the mid-late 1800s and even today. (See my maps at

Perhaps the Cullens mostly emigrated, or perhaps their relatives today in Cork go by a similar name like Collins or Cullinan?

In any case, we'd be very interested in getting in touch especially if you have an interest in the DNA project. get in touch! berniecullen AT

Anonymous said...

I descend from Thomas Cullen (Cullin), who originally came from Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland. He served in the Napoleonic Wars at Trafalgar and the Battle of the Nile on the ship, Bellophron. By 1804, he had settled near Glasgow in Scotland and his children are found in the I.G.I. baptismal records for Glasgow's poor (no spouse listed). His son, Robert married Janet Crawford of Paisley, Scotland. This couple came to Pictou County, Nova Scotia.

Bernie said...

Hello Anonymous,

Could you please email me ( so I can forward you any replies to your comment? The name Janet Crawford is familiar, I think I have seen postings about this couple in other forums.

Frank Cullen of NS has posted on this blog, he comes from a family that is Scottish all the way he thinks.

Anonymous said...

I will e-mail you. Thomas Cullen was Irish, or perhaps Irish and English as he was Anglican. I don't know if his spouse was Irish or Scottish or both, because I don't know her name. I suspect Scottish since the children were Presbyterian. The Crawfords were Scottish Presbyterians.