Show ContentsGwyn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the Celtic land of Wales came the name Gwyn. This name initially evolved from person with light-colored hair or a pale complexion; the surname Gwyn may have also been applied to someone who habitually wore white or pale-colored clothing. The name Gwyn, one of only a few Welsh nickname surnames, is derived from the Welsh word "gwyn," which means "fair" or "white." Other references claim the name is derived from the words "llwch" meaning "dust" or gwin meaning "wine." [1] [2]

According to Welsh tradition, the Adar Llwch Gwin were giant birds given to Drudwas ap Tryffin by his fairy wife. The birds obeyed their master and assisted him in battle. The term later appeared in Welsh poetry to describe hawks, falcons and occasionally brave men.

Gwenwynwyn (d. 1218?), Prince of Powys, "was the eldest son of Owain Cyveiliog, prince of Powys. In 1186 he is first mentioned as joining with his brother Cadwallon in slaying Owain, son of Madog, by treachery. In 1196 he was engaged in war with Archbishop Hubert Walter and an army of English and North Welsh. His castle of Trallong Llewelyn was besieged and taken by undermining the walls; but the garrison escaped, and before the end of the year Gwenwynwyn again took the castle ." [3]

Early Origins of the Gwyn family

The surname Gwyn was first found in Breconshire (Welsh: Sir Frycheiniog), a traditional county in southern Wales, which takes its name from the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog (5th-10th centuries.) "Gwyn, however, is a very old and has often been a distinguished South Wales name, especially in Brecknockshire." [4]

Thomas filius Win was listed in Shropshire in 1255; and Wyn, Win was found in Ellesmere in 1280. [5]

Early History of the Gwyn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gwyn research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1508, 1515, 1537, 1543, 1558, 1568, 1584, 1588, 1591, 1623, 1627, 1648, 1650, 1654, 1662, 1673, 1687, 1734, 1746, 1787, 1890 and 1970 are included under the topic Early Gwyn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gwyn 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 Gwyn have included Gwynne, Gwin, Gwine, Gwinn, Gwinne, Gwyn, Gwynn and many more.

Early Notables of the Gwyn family

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was

  • Saint Richard Gwyn (ca. 1537-1584), also known as Richard White, a Welsh school teacher, martyred high treason in 1584 but later canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970; George Gwynne (c 1623-1673), a Welsh...

Gwyn Ranking

In the United States, the name Gwyn is the 14,607th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Gwyn family to Ireland

Some of the Gwyn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Gwyn migration to the United States +

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 Gwyn:

Gwyn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1642 [7]
  • Hugh Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1642 [7]
  • Alex Gwyn, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [7]
  • Thomas Gwyn, who landed in Maryland in 1658 [7]
  • Evan Gwyn, who arrived in Maryland in 1662 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gwyn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Elenor Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [7]
  • David Gwyn, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [7]
Gwyn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Gwyn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854 [7]

Australia Gwyn migration to Australia +

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

Gwyn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Gwyn, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]

New Zealand Gwyn 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:

Gwyn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Jas. Gwyn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Nourmahal" arriving in Dunedin, Otaga, South Island, New Zealand on 5th May 1858 [9]
  • Mrs. Gwyn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Nourmahal" arriving in Dunedin, Otaga, South Island, New Zealand on 5th May 1858 [9]
  • Miss Gwyn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Nourmahal" arriving in Dunedin, Otaga, South Island, New Zealand on 5th May 1858 [9]

West Indies Gwyn migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [10]
Gwyn Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Charles Gwyn who arrived in Barbados in 1654

Contemporary Notables of the name Gwyn (post 1700) +

  • Aaron Gwyn (b. 1972), American short story author, novelist, and English professor
  • Marcus Edwin Gwyn (b. 1977), American former Major League Baseball relief pitcher from Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Branwen Gwyn, Welsh television presenter from Cardiff
  • Richard John Philip Jermy Gwyn OC (1934-2020), English-born, Canadian journalist, author, historian, and civil servant from Bury St. Edmunds, England
  • Alexandra Sandra Fraser Gwyn (1935-2000), Newfoundland-born, Canadian journalist and writer, wife of Richard Gwyn
  • Robert Gwyn East (b. 1943), Welsh theatre and television actor
  • Robert Gwyn MacFarlane CBE, FRS (1907-1987), British hematologist and former Professor of Clinical Pathology at Oxford University
  • Gwyn Richards (1951-2023), Welsh cricketer from 1971-1979
  • Gwyn Thomas (1936-2016), Welsh poet and academic, former National Poet of Wales
  • Gwyn Hanssen Pigott (1935-2013), Australian ceramic artist

The Gwyn 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: Vim vi repellere licet
Motto Translation: It is lawful to repel force by force.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
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