Show ContentsAlwyn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought the Alwyn family name to the British Isles. Alwyn comes from the Old English personal names Alfwin, and Elwin, as well a collection of other names containing the elements oelf, which means elf, and wine, which means friend.

Etherlwine, Aethelwine or Ailwin (died 922), was a Saxon ealdorman (royal official) of East Anglia, fourth and youngest son of the ealdorman Aethelstan, called the Half-king. [1]

Early Origins of the Alwyn family

The surname Alwyn was first found in Devon where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Alwinetone, later called Alwington. In the Domesday Book Survey of 1086 A.D. this village containing 120 sheep and houses was held by Hamelin from the Count of Mortain, from which the Alwins are conjecturally descended.

One of the first records of the family was Henry Fitz Ailwyn, Lord Mayor of London (1189-1211.)

Early History of the Alwyn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alwyn research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1130, 1175, 1564 and 1499 are included under the topic Early Alwyn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alwyn Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Alwin, Alwyn, Elwyn, Elwyn, Elvin, Elvins, Elvyn, Alvin, Allwin, Allwyn, Ellwyn, Ellwin and many more.

Early Notables of the Alwyn family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Alwyn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Alwyn family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Alwyn or a variant listed above: John Alvin who landed in America in 1698; Jacob Alwin landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1741; William Elvyn landed in St. Christopher in 1635; John and William Elvins landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1853 and 1857.

Contemporary Notables of the name Alwyn (post 1700) +

  • Joseph Matthew Alwyn (b. 1991), English actor and songwriter, known for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016), The Favourite (2018), and Harriet (2019)
  • William Alwyn CBE (1905-1985), born William Alwyn Smith, an English composer, conductor, and music teacher
  • Nicholas Alwyn (b. 1938), English first class cricketer who played for Cambridge University Cricket Club in 1961
  • Kenneth Alwyn (1925-2020), born Kenneth Alwyn Wetherell, English orchestral conductor, composer and writer, born in Croydon, England, "one of the great British musical directors"
  • Major General Ronald Alwyn Grey AO, DSO (1930-2022), Australian Army officer who served as Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (1983–1988)
  • Cedric Alwyn Minter (b. 1958), American former professional CFL football player, recipient of the 1981 Frank M. Gibson Trophy
  • Carl Alwyn Schenck (1868-1955), German pioneer of forestry in the USA and Europe
  • Alwyn Faber "A.F." Scholfield (1884-1969), British classical scholar and librarian of the University of Cambridge (1923-1949)
  • Alwyn "Uncle Al" Clouston (1910-2004), Newfoundland Juno Award nominated storyteller and humorist
  • Alwyn Walter "Walt" Peregoy (1925-2015), American artist, best known for his work with Walt Disney Productions 1951-1964, 1974-1983, Format Films and Hanna-Barbera (1968-1971 & 1973)

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook