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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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


The surname Gwynne 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), where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Gwynne have included Gwynne, Gwin, Gwine, Gwinn, Gwinne, Gwyn, Gwynn and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gwynne research. Another 199 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1508, 1537, 1584, 1584, 1591, 1537, 1584, 1584, 1970, 1623, 1673, 1654, 1662, 1648, 1734, 1650, 1687 and are included under the topic Early Gwynne History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Robert Gwin ( fl. 1591), a Welsh Roman Catholic priest and author; 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...

Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gwynne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the Gwynne family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North Ameri ca. Like the Irish and Scottish, many Welsh anxiously awaited the work, freedom, and opportunities that they believed lay in North America. Those who did journey over to the United States and what became known as Canada often realized those dreams, but only through much toil and perseverance. Whenever and however these Welsh immigrants arrived in North America, they were instrumental in the creation of the industry, commerce, and cultural heritage within those two developing nations. In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Gwynne were found:

Gwynne Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Gwynne arrived in Philadelphia in 1854
  • William A Gwynne, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1859

Gwynne Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Edward Castres Gwynne arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" in 1838
  • Robert Gwynne a farm labourer, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rapid" in 1838
  • Francis Gwynne arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rapid" in 1838
  • Annie Gwynne arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rapid" in 1838
  • John Gwynne, English convict from Shropshire, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • ...

  • Michael C. Gwynne (b. 1942), American film, television and radio actor
  • Alice Claypoole Gwynne Vanderbilt (1845-1934), American wife of Cornelius Vanderbilt II
  • Anne Gwynne (1918-2003), born Marguerite Gwynne Trice, an American film actress of the 1940s, known as one of the first scream queens because of her numerous appearances in horror films, one of the most popular pin-up girls of World War II
  • John Williams Gwynne (1889-1972), American Republican U.S. Representative from Iowa's 3rd congressional district, Federal Trade Commission member and chairman during the Eisenhower Administration
  • Jack Gwynne (1895-1969), American illusionist, actor and creator of magic effects
  • Anne Gwynne (1918-2003), American actress, known for her roles in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940), Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947) and House of Frankenstein (1944)
  • Frederick Hubbard "Fred" Gwynne (1926-1993), American actor, best known for his starring roles in Car 54, Where Are You? (1961) and The Munsters (1964)
  • Thomas Emlyn Gwynne (1898-1962), Welsh rugby union and professional rugby league footballer, Member of the Wales National Team in 1928
  • Llewellyn Henry Gwynne CMG, CBE (1863-1957), Welsh Anglican Bishop, 1st Anglican Bishop of Egypt and Sudan (1920-1946)
  • Phillip Gwynne (1958-1998), Australian author, best known for his 1998 debut novel Deadly, Unna?
  • ...

Gwynne Historic Events

HMAS Sydney II

  • Mr. David Andrew Gwynne (1920-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Riverton, South Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking

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.


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    Other References

    1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
    3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    6. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    9. Davies, R. R. The Age of Conquest: Wales, 1063-1415. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
    10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
    11. ...

    The Gwynne Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Gwynne Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

    This page was last modified on 14 August 2016 at 11:17.

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