Battle in East Sussex Town Guide

Veness / Venis Family

It is a bit odd for messages on the Battle message board to not appreciate that to look for the origin of the Venis, Venus, Veness etc family name, all you need to do is look at the list of the “Compagnons” of William the Conqueror listed in the roll of compagnons held at Battle Abbey, just by the entrance?

The name listed in this document records the family name as Venois, (derived from the place Venoix, which today is a suburb of Caen).

If you visit the church at Dives-sur-Mer, where the Norman knights gathered before departing, you will see the names listed on the wall of the church including ‘Venois’.

The reason there are so many of the family name Veness in Sussex, Kent, Hampshire is that that is where the land originally granted to the family was. In the Domesday Book all the Veness family land was recorded under the family title at the Norman Court, Le Mareshal, The Marshall. People don’t move around very much over the centuries. When the Duchess of Cleveland visited Battle Abbey in the 1880s, she remarked on the fact that in the fields around Battle Abbey, there were Veness family members labouring in the fields! (Ie where once the family had owned the land). She wrote the definitive book on Norman surnames published in 1889 under the title ‘The Battle Abbey Roll’.

Robert de Hastings was appointed as the first Port Reeve of Hastings after the battle in 1066, and changed his name from Robert de Venoix in the process. But he had 3 brothers who carried on the de Venoix name.

One response to “Veness / Venis Family”

  1.  avatar

    I still can’t reconcile the two theories of the Venis/Vennes/Venus families of Sussex, being descended from Geoffrey De Venoix from the time of the Norman Invasion and the 3 Hugenot De Venoix brothers who are supoosed to have landed in Rye in 1586(ish). I believe Geoffrey became custodian of Pembroke Castle and was known as “The Mareshal” and whose descendants, as they dispersed throughout the country, seemed to become the Marshall family.
    If those working the fields in the 1880’s were descended from the 11th Century De Venoix’s has anyone managed to fill in the missing 500 years ???
    I can trace a direct line back to Nicholas De Venoix (one of the Hugenot brothers) but nothing beyond him. Suggesting that the story of them being one of the first “Channel Boat People” may be true. In which case, there is no proof that their name in France, was actually De Venoix. That could have been a given name by the Rye authorities when the brothers explained from whence they had come.
    Can someone please clear up my confusion ????

What’s new?

Rush, Witt & Wilson
Rush, Witt & Wilson

We are located in the heart of Battle High Street opposite the imposing Abbey, site of the 1066 Battle of … more

Listed in: Estate Agents

Message Board

Simmons and Morgan Families

Are there any members of the Simmons family in Battle, related to James Edward, and Mary Simmons who migrated to … more

Looking for friend from the 60s

Hi trying to find a Myrtle (Dolly) Martin who lived in Battle in the early 60s. Just wondering if still … more

Explore Battle ...