The Gawen surname is a Brythonic Celtic
name that comes from the personal name
Gawen. This name was popular due to the exploits traditionally attributed to Sir Gawaine, a nephew of King Arthur
who was a native of the English/ Welsh
border area and was famed for his exploits as a Knight of the Round Table. Sir Gawaine was the hero of the battle with the giant Rhyence: 'That Gawain with his olde eurtesie.' Chaucer, The Squire's Tale. Independently, the surname Gawen is native to the Isle of Man
, and as a Manx name, it is an occupational
surname derived from Mac-an-Gabhain, which means the smith's son.
Early Origins of the Gawen family
The surname Gawen was first found in Wiltshire
, where "the Gawens of Norrington, in the parish of Alvideston, continued in that place four hundred
fifty and odd yeares. On the south downe of the farme of Broad Chalke is a little barrow called Gawen's Barrow, which must bee before ecclesiastical lawes were established." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
The Hundredorum Rolls
of 1273 list Goselena filius
Gawyne in Cambridgeshire
and the Yorkshire Poll Tax
Rolls of 1379 list Peter Gowyn and Emma Gawyn. CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
Early History of the Gawen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gawen research.Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gawen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gawen Spelling Variations
Although there are comparatively few Welsh
surnames, they have a great many spelling variations
. Variations of Welsh
names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh
society. In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic
language of Wales
, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language. Spelling variations
were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name. The spelling variations
of the name Gawen have included Gawen, Gaven, Gavin and others.
Early Notables of the Gawen family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Gawen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gawen family to the New World and Oceana
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Gawen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- Patt Gawen, aged 20, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833
Contemporary Notables of the name Gawen (post 1700)
- Sir Nicholas Gawen Brownrigg (b. 1932), 5th Baronet
- David Gawen Champernowne (1912-2000), Professor of Statistical Economics at Oxford (1948-1959)
- Gawen Lawrie, American politician