Gwynn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the Celtic land of Wales came the name Gwynn. This name initially evolved from person with light-colored hair or a pale complexion; the surname Gwynn may have also been applied to someone who habitually wore white or pale-colored clothing. The name Gwynn, 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 Gwynn family

The surname Gwynn 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 Gwynn family

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

Gwynn Spelling Variations

Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Gwynn has occasionally been spelled Gwynne, Gwin, Gwine, Gwinn, Gwinne, Gwyn, Gwynn and many more.

Early Notables of the Gwynn family (pre 1700)

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 politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1654 and 1662; Francis Gwyn PC (1648-1734), a Welsh politician and official; and Eleanor "Nell" Gwyn...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gwynn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gwynn family to Ireland

Some of the Gwynn 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 Gwynn migration to the United States +

In the 1800s and 1900s, many Welsh families left for North America, in search of land, work, and freedom. Those who made the trip successfully helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Gwynn

Gwynn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Abigail Gwynn, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [6]
  • Richard Gwynn, who landed in Maryland in 1665 [6]
  • Sarah Gwynn, who landed in Maryland in 1668 [6]
Gwynn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johannah Gwynn, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [6]
  • Peter Gwynn, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [6]
  • Roderick Gwynn, who arrived in Georgia in 1752 [6]
  • James Gwynn, who settled in Maryland in 1774
  • John Gwynn, who arrived in Frederick County, Maryland in 1796 [6]
Gwynn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Josiah Gwynn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872 [6]

New Zealand Gwynn 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:

Gwynn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J. Gwynn, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mallard" in 1870

Contemporary Notables of the name Gwynn (post 1700) +

  • Walter Gwynn (1802-1882), American civil engineer and soldier, a Virginia Provisional Army general and North Carolina militia brigadier general in the American Civil War
  • Anthony Keith "Tony" Gwynn Jr. (b. 1982), American Major League Baseball outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, son of Tony Gwynn
  • Darbi Gwynn, American actress, stunt performer, and singer
  • Anthony Keith "Tony" Gwynn (1960-2014), nicknamed Mr. Padre and Captain Video, American Major League Baseball player with a career 3,141 hits, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007
  • William Gwynn (1856-1897), Welsh international rugby union forward who played from 1879 to 1887 for Swansea
  • William Gwynn (1856-1897), Welsh international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Swansea, brother of David Gwynn
  • David "Dai" Gwynn (1861-1910), Welsh international rugby union wing player from Swansea
  • Major-General Sir Charles William Gwynn KCB, CMG, DSO, FRGS (1870-1962), Irish-born, British Army officer, geographer, explorer and author, Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley (1926-1931)
  • Denis Roleston Gwynn (1893-1973), Irish journalist, writer and professor of modern Irish history. He served in World War I
  • Aubrey Osborn Gwynn (1892-1983), Irish Jesuit historian, son of Stephen Gwynn
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Gwynn 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. ^ 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)


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