If your research takes you back between 1350 and 1550 and you suspect that your ancestors may have hailed from abroad, you can search for them for free to discover if they were immigrants at englandsimmigrants.com.
England’s Immigration Database
Navigate to the homepage and enter the name of your ancestor in the box on the right-hand side. Filter by date if necessary. For example, you may be looking for Henry Cotton. In that instance, enter the surname Cotton and then press ‘Search’.
All the results for individuals named Cotton will appear, including one for Henry Cotton. You can click on either “Summary” or “Full Record” to obtain further details. The options for a full record will detail the origins of the record.
Here, the full record is from the Calendar of the Patent Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office. The database is compiled from a variety of published and unpublished records – taxation assessments, letters of denization and protection, plus other licences and grants.