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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The ancient history of the Featherston name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in the area that was named Featherstone which was in the counties of Staffordshire, the West Riding of Yorkshire and Northumberland. The surname Featherston is a habitation name, which is a type of local name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. In this case, the surname was originally derived from an ancient structure made of three light-weight stones that were found near the dwelling place of the original bearers.


The surname Featherston was first found in Northumberland at Featherstone Castle, a large Gothic style country mansion on the bank of the River South Tyne, near the town of Haltwhistle. The 11th century manor house belonged to the Featherstonehaugh family and dates back to the 13th-century. A square three-storey pele tower was added in 1330 by Thomas de Featherstonehaugh. The castle was held in good repair through the centuries as a survey from the year 1541 reported the property to be a tower in good repair and occupied by Thomas Featherstonehaugh. For a brief time, the castle was sold to Sir William Howard in the 17th century, but was repurchased from the Earl of Carlisle in 1711 by Matthew Featherstonehaugh (1662-1762).

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 Featherston include Featherston, Featherstone, Fetherstone, Featherstonhaugh, Featherstun, Fetherston, Featherstonaugh, Featherstonhoe, Fetherstonhoe, Fetherstunhaugh, Fetherstonaugh and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Featherston research. Another 265 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1540, 1886, 1621, 1638, 1628, 1711, 1654, 1746, 1776, 1830 and 1923 are included under the topic Early Featherston History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 149 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Featherston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Featherston family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Featherston or a variant listed above:

Featherston Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Featherston purchased land in Virginia in 1607

Featherston Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John Featherston settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1847

Featherston Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Dorothy Featherston, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Geo Featherston, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Featherston Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Robert Owen Featherston, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon"
  • Mary Featherston, aged 22, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Joseph Rowan"

Featherston Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Isaac E Featherston landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Olympus


  • Winfield Scott "Old Swet" Featherston (1820-1891), American politician, two-term U.S. Representative from Mississippi, brigadier general in the Confederate States Army
  • Katie Dianne Featherston (b. 1982), American actress
  • Winfield Scott Featherston (1820-1891), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Mississippi 2nd District, 1847-51; Defeated, 1850; Member of Mississippi State House of Representatives, 1876, 1880
  • W. H. Featherston, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1912
  • Maurice Featherston (b. 1863), American politician, Member of New York State Senate 18th District, 1896-1900; New York City Dock Commissioner, 1904
  • Howell C. Featherston, American politician, Member of Virginia State Senate 20th District, 1912-15
  • John Peter Featherston (1830-1917), English-born, Canadian mayor of Ottawa (1874 to 1875)
  • Joseph Featherston (1843-1913), Canadian Liberal Party politician
  • Isaac Earl Featherston (1813-1876), New Zealand politician


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: Valens et volens
Motto Translation: Able and willing.


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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  5. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  9. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Featherston Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Featherston Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 29 April 2016 at 19:16.

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