Gawen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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." [1] 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. [2]

Important Dates for 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.

Gawen migration to Canada

Many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, searching for land, work, and freedom. Like the many other immigrants from the British Isles, they made a significant contribution to the development of Canada and the United States. The Welsh and their descendents added a rich cultural tradition to the newly developed towns, cities, and villages. An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Gawen:

Gawen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patt Gawen, aged 20, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833

Gawen 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:

Gawen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles A. Gawen, (b. 1841), aged 22, British tailor travelling from London aboard the ship "David G. Fleming" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 9th December 1863 [3]

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

Citations

  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
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