Show ContentsCarthew History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Carthew family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Carthew family originally lived in Cornwall. Their name, however, is derived from a Cornish phrase meaning dweller at the black rock, indicating that the original bearer lived near a prominent black rock. [1]

Looking back further, another source claims that name could have been Norman in origin from "Catheux, a location name in Normandy." [2]

Early Origins of the Carthew family

The surname Carthew was first found in Cornwall where the "surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'of Carthew' or 'Cardew,' a spot in the parish of St. Issey. There is, however, a hamlet Carthew in the parish of Carnmenellis; also another small hamlet of the same name in the parish of Treverbyn, Cornwall." [3]

Early History of the Carthew family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Carthew research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1548, 1551, 1594, 1660, 1657, 1704, 1720 and 1823 are included under the topic Early Carthew History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Carthew Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and 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 of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Carthew, Carthewe and others.

Early Notables of the Carthew family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Thomas Carthew (1657-1704), Serjeant-at-Law, eldest son of Thomas Carthew of Cannaliggy, St. Issey in Cornwall. By his wife, "the serjeant had two sons, Thomas and John, both at the bar, and Thomas, the elder, inherited Cannaliggy from...
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Carthew Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Carthew family to Ireland

Some of the Carthew family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Carthew migration to the United States +

A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Carthew:

Carthew Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edmund Carthew who settled in Maryland in 1774
Carthew Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Albert Carthew, aged 29, who landed in America, in 1894
Carthew Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Geo. Leopold Carthew, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1907
  • Edith M. Carthew, aged 28, who settled in America from Launceston England, in 1908
  • James Carthew, aged 21, who immigrated to America from Gateshead, England, in 1911
  • Thomas John Carthew, aged 42, who landed in America from Hayle, England, in 1912
  • Margaret Carthew, aged 11, who immigrated to New Orleans, in 1920
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Carthew migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Carthew Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Carthew, aged 29, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" [4]
  • William Carthew, aged 25, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Thetis" [5]
  • William Carthew, aged 21, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Thetis" [5]
  • Thomas Carthew, aged 20, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Lord Hungerford"
  • Mr. George Thomas Carthew, (b. 1874), aged 18, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Jelunga" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 25th May 1892 [6]

New Zealand Carthew migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Carthew Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Mary Carthew, (b. 1815), aged 50, British housekeeper travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd July 1865 [7]
  • Miss Georgina Carthew, (b. 1847), aged 18, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd July 1865 [7]
  • Philip R. Carthew, aged 19, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Assaye" in 1874 [7]
  • Mr. Philip R. Carthew, (b. 1855), aged 19, Cornish farm labourer departing on 1st September 1874 aboard the ship "Assaye" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 26th December 1874 [8]
  • Mr. Philip R. Carthew, British settler travelling from London, UK with 1 child aboard the ship "Assaye" arriving in Auckland, North Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1874 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Carthew (post 1700) +

  • Margaret Carthew (1909-1942), American actress, known for her roles in 42nd Street (1933), The StrawBerry Blonde (1941) and Dames (1934)
  • Cory Carthew (b. 1967), American actor from New York City
  • John W. Carthew, American Republican politician, Burgess of Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, 1937-42
  • George Alfred Carthew (1807-1882), English antiquary, born on 20 June 1807, the only son of George Carthew, solicitor, of Harleston, Norfolk [9]
  • Richard Carthew, Professor of Biology at Northwestern University, Illinois
  • Elizabeth Carthew, Australian Jazz musician
  • Carthew Yourstoun, East Tinwald

The Carthew Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Bedhoh fyr ha heb drok
Motto Translation: Let us be wise without guile; or, as it is expressed in scriptural phrase, “Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HARRY LORREQUER 1849. Retrieved from
  5. South Australian Register Friday 1st September 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Emigrant 1854. Retrieved
  6. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  8. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Auckland 1872-80 [PDF]. Retrieved from
  9. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 25 Nov. 2019 on Facebook