Show ContentsFeatherston History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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 Featherstone, Northumberland, a township, in the parish and union of Haltwhistle, W. division of Tindale ward. "Featherstone Castle is on the east side of the South Tyne, opposite its confluence with the Hartley burn, in a beautiful situation. It was from an early period the seat of the Featherstonehaugh family, one of whom, Timothy, raised a troop of horse for the king during the civil war, and was knighted under the royal banner. The castle stands in a spacious lawn skirted with trees of luxuriant foliage, and is an exceedingly fine structure, with embattled walls, and four towers, of which three are of recent erection; the interior is enriched by some splendid pictures, and attached are a domestic chapel, and a well-arranged suite of offices." [1]

Featherstone is also a chapelry, in the parish of Wolverhampton, union of Penkridge in Staffordshire and a parish, partly in the Lower division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, and partly in the Upper division of that of Osgoldcross, union of Barwick (under Gilbert's act), in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [1]

As far as these parishes are concerned, the Staffordshire parish dates back to Saxon times (10th century) when it was known as Feotherer(e)stan but later as Ferdestan in 1086 [2] and the West Yorkshire parish dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was known as Ferdeston. [3]

Early Origins of the Featherston family

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). Accordingly, the first record of the family was found in Northumberland where Elias de Fetherestanehalg was recorded in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1204. [4]

Some moved west to Kirk-Oswald in Cumberland. "The estates were granted by Elizabeth to the Dodding family, and subsequently to the Featherstonhaughs, of Northumberland, who have been settled here since the time of James I., and whose mansion, called The College, is a venerable structure, formerly the residence of the provost and fellows of the college. It is romantically situated on a gentle eminence rising from the margin of the Raven beck, at a short distance from the town; and retains its ancient Oriel window, and other interesting details of its original style. The mansion was plundered by the parliamentarian forces; and there is still preserved the copy of a petition presented to the parliament by the widow of Sir Timothy Featherstonhaugh, in which the loss is estimated at £10,000." [1]

Early History of the Featherston family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Featherston research. Another 133 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1540, 1886, 1575, 1621, 1624, 1621, 1638, 1628, 1711, 1654, 1746, 1776, 1830, 1923 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Featherston History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

Early Notables of the Featherston family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Richard Fetherston (Fetherstone, Featherstone) (executed in 1540), an English Roman Catholic priest, chaplain to Catharine of Aragon and tutor to her daughter, Mary Tudor, he was beatified by Pope Leo XIII, 29 December 1886. Francis Fetherston or Fetherstonhaugh (born c. 1575) was an English politician, Member...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Featherston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Featherston Ranking

In the United States, the name Featherston is the 8,743rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Featherston family to Ireland

Some of the Featherston family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 99 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Featherston 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 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, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1847

Canada Featherston migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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

Australia Featherston migration to Australia +

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

Featherston Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Featherston, (b. 1811), aged 22, English waterman who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for life for highway robbery, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 14th October 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1874 [6]
  • Robert Owen Featherston, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon" [7]
  • Mary Featherston, aged 22, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Joseph Rowan" [8]

New Zealand Featherston 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:

Featherston Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Dr. Isaac Earl Featherston, (b. 1813), aged 27, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Olympus" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 20th April 1841 [9]
  • Mrs. Bethia Campbell Featherston, (b. 1813), aged 27, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Olympus" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 20th April 1841 [9]
  • Isaac E Featherston, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Olympus

Contemporary Notables of the name Featherston (post 1700) +

  • 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 Democratic Party politician, U.S. Representative from Mississippi 2nd District, 1847-51; Defeated, 1850; Member of Mississippi State House of Representatives, 1876, 1880 [10]
  • W. H. Featherston, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1912 [10]
  • Maurice Featherston (b. 1863), American politician, Member of New York State Senate 18th District, 1896-1900; New York City Dock Commissioner, 1904 [10]
  • Howell C. Featherston, American politician, Member of Virginia State Senate 20th District, 1912-15 [10]
  • Isaac Earl Featherston (1813-1876), New Zealand politician, fourth son of Thomas Featherston of Blackdean, Weardale, and Cotfield House, Durham [11]
  • John Peter Featherston (1830-1917), English-born, Canadian mayor of Ottawa (1874 to 1875)
  • Joseph Featherston (1843-1913), Canadian Liberal Party politician
  • Selwyn Featherston Toogood QSO (1916-2001), New Zealand radio and television personality

The Featherston 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: Valens et volens
Motto Translation: Able and willing.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st September 2022).
  7. South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) AMAZON 1852. Retrieved
  8. South Australian Register Saturday 17th June 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Joseph Rowan 1854. Retrieved
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 20) . Retrieved from
  11. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020 on Facebook