Willo Surname History

Willo is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Willo family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Willo family lived in Lincolnshire at Willoughby.

Early Origins of the Willo family

The surname Willo was first found in Lincolnshire where Sir William de Willoughby was Lord of Willoughby, a Norman knight who was granted the estates by William the Conqueror. Baron Willoughby de Eresby was a title created by writ in 1313 for Robert de Willoughby.

"Thorganby Hall [in Thorganby], formerly the seat of the Willoughbys, is an ancient and handsome stone mansion, situated in well-wooded grounds commanding fine prospects." [1]

Matson in Gloucestershire played an important place in England's history. "This place, during the siege of Gloucester, became the head-quarters of Charles I.; and the ancient manorhouse, erected by Sir Ambrose Willoughby, Knt., in the reign of Elizabeth, was on that occasion occupied by the king's sons, Charles and James." [1]

Further to the south in Cornwall, an early branch of the family was found in Dorset. "The Willoughbys of Dorsetshire had formerly a seat on the barton of Carvynick or Car-vin-ike [in the parish of St. Endover]. From this family it was carried by a co-heiress to a branch of the Arundells of Lanherne. On failure of male issue in this branch, it was carried in marriage by the heiress of Zach. Arundell, to Anthony Tanner, gent. descended from the Tanners of Court and Bodenick, in St. Stephens Brannell." [2]

Early History of the Willo family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willo research. Another 329 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1492, 1502, 1471, 1528, 1554, 1370, 1409, 1399, 1400, 1401, 1402, 1404, 1406, 1452, 1502, 1497, 1554, 1515, 1570, 1537, 1603, 1584, 1617, 1452, 1502, 1472, 1521, 1640, 1669, 1664, 1666, 1667, 1670, 1638, 1674, 1635, 1672, 1670 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Willo History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Willo Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Willoughby, Willowby and others.

Early Notables of the Willo family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby de Eresby (c.1370-1409), an English Baron, joined Bolingbroke, the future King Henry IV, soon after his landing at Ravenspur, he was present at the abdication of Richard II in the Tower in 1399, and was one of the peers who consented to King Richard's imprisonment, taken part in Henry IV's expedition to Scotland (1400), admitted to the Order of the Garter (1401), among those appointed to negotiate with the Welsh rebel, Owain Glyndair (1402), he remained loyal to the King, was appointed to the King's council, among the...
Another 183 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Willo Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Willo family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Willo or a variant listed above: Francis Willoughby, from Portsmouth who became Deputy Governor of Massachusetts in 1678; Lady Ann Willoughby arrived in Barbados in 1679 with her servants.



  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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