Fenwicks History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Fenwicks is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Fenwicks family once lived in Fenwick, which was in Northumberland and in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This habitation name was originally derived from the Old English fenn, which means marsh and wic, which literally means a dairy farm. In this case the original bearers of the surname Fenwicks lived in marshy area where they was a dairy farm.
"Fenwick Tower was the seat of the ancient family of the same name, so numerous in Northumberland; and so continued till 1688, when Sir John Fenwick alienated his estates for the sum of £20,000." 
Early Origins of the Fenwicks family
The surname Fenwicks was first found in Northumberland where the family held a family seat at Stamfordham from ancient times. "The church [at Stamfordham], erected about the 13th century, is in the early English style, and stands west of the market-cross; the chancel was built by the Fenwicks, of Fenwick Tower, and contains several monumental inscriptions to that ancient family and the Swinburnes." 
"In pulling down the remains of Fenwick Tower here, in 1775, several hundred gold nobles, of the coinage of Edward III., were found in an open stone chest, supposed to have been concealed in 1360 on the invasion of David, King of Scotland, who made prisoners the two sons of Sir John Fenwick, then owner of the castle." 
Over in Blagdon, another branch of the family was found and held estates for some time. "This place, which lies on the south side of the Blyth, was formerly called Blakedene, and was part of the ancient barony of Morpeth: the family of Fenwick flourished on the spot for three centuries, the 15th, 16th, and 17th." 
Further to the north in Scotland, the name is from "the village of Fenwick in the parish of the same name in Ayrshire. "  The earliest record of the family was Nicholaus Fynwyk who was provost of Ayr in 1313. Later, Reginald de Fynwyck or Fynvyk appears as bailie and alderman of the same burgh in 1387 and 1401. Interestingly, there is one listing of the family with the lower case "ff" prefix: "Robert de ffenwic who witnessed a confirmation charter by de Vmframvilla to the Abbey of Kelso c. 1220." So as to tie this family with the aforementioned Northumberland entry, we found the following: "The Border Clan of Fenwicks, were most probably kin to the Fenwicks or Fenwykes of Northumberland who took their name from their ancient castle near Stamfordham. " 
Early History of the Fenwicks family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fenwicks research. Another 152 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1313, 1697, 1578, 1589, 1570, 1658, 1624, 1648, 1593, 1670, 1603, 1657, 1640, 1654, 1657, 1617, 1676, 1645, 1676, 1645, 1694, 1662, 1701, 1689, 1695, 1618, 1683, 1675, 1645, 1697 and 1688 are included under the topic Early Fenwicks History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fenwicks Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Fenwicks family name include Fenwick, Fenwicks, Fennick, Fenwicke and others.
Early Notables of the Fenwicks family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include William Fenwick, Sheriff of Northumberland in 1578 and 1589; Sir John Fenwick, 1st Baronet (c.1570-c.1658), an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1624 and 1648, supporter of the Parliamentary cause in the Civil War; John Fenwicke (c.1593-1670), supported the parliamentary cause during the English Civil War; George Fenwick (c. 1603-1657), an English Parliamentarian, and a leading colonist in the short-lived Saybrook Colony, Member of Parliament for Morpeth (1640-52) and Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed (1654-1657); Sir William Fenwick, 2nd Baronet (c.1617-1676), an English landowner and politician who sat in...
Another 113 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fenwicks Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fenwicks family
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Fenwicks surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Cuthbert Fenwick who settled in Virginia in 1634; George Fenwick settled in Connecticut in 1640; John Fenwick with his wife and three daughters settled in Delaware in 1675.
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: Toujours fidele
Motto Translation: Always faithful.
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)