Derwent History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Derwent name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided beside the river Darwen or Derwent in Lancashire. "Over and Lower Darwen are towns in the ancient parish of Blackburn, Lancashire, so called because located on the small stream the Darwen, a variation of the common river name Derwent. " [1]

Early Origins of the Derwent family

The surname Derwent was first found in Lancashire. The baptismal name Derewen was found in the Domesday Book. [2] One of the first listings of the family was found in Oxfordshire in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Years later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Robertus Darwent and Henricus Darwent, walker. [1]

"The family home of the Darwins in the 17th century was at Cleaton in Lincolnshire, and at Elston in Nottinghamshire. From this stock sprang, last century, the noted Derbyshire Darwins, to which branch Charles Darwin, the great naturalist, belonged. " [3]

Robert Darwin of Elston (1682-1754) was an English physician who discovered the first remains of a Jurassic reptile in 1718 in a stone from a quarry at Fulbeck. He was the ancestor of the famed naturalist Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882.)

Early History of the Derwent family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Derwent research. Another 159 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1731, 1802, 1809, 1882, 1644, 1620, 1731 and 1802 are included under the topic Early Derwent History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Derwent Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Derwent include Darwin, Darwen, Derwent, Darwent and others.

Early Notables of the Derwent family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include William Darwin (d. 1644) who possessed a small estate at Cleatham, and was yeoman of the armoury at Greenwich to James I and Charles I. His son William (b. 1620) served in the Royalist Army, and afterwards became a barrister and recorder of Lincoln and married the daughter of Erasmus Earle, serjeant-at-law. His...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Derwent Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Derwent migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled 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 ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Derwent or a variant listed above:

Derwent Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • C W Derwent, who landed in New York, NY in 1851 [4]

Australia Derwent migration to Australia +

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

Derwent Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Derwent, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Candahar" in 1851 [5]
  • William Derwent, aged 37, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Shackamaxon" [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Derwent (post 1700) +

  • Eric Derwent Walrond (1898-1966), African-American Harlem Renaissance writer
  • Sir Derwent Hall Caine (1891-1971), 1st Baronet, a British actor, publisher and Labour politician, Member of Parliament for Liverpool, Everton (1929-1931)
  • Derwent William Kermode (1898-1960), British diplomat
  • Derwent Coleridge (1800-1883), third child of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, distinguished scholar and author


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CANDAHAR 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Candahar.htm
  6. ^ South Australian Register Thursday 20 January 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SHACKAMAXON 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/shackamaxon1853.shtml.


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