Show ContentsMainwaring History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Mainwaring is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Mainwaring family lived in a place that in Anglo-Norman French was named Mesnil Warin, which means domain of Warin. The Mesnil-Garin's were a well-known Norman family. The family name Mainwaring was brought to England after the Norman Conquest, when William the Conqueror gave his friends and relatives most of the land formerly owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats. The Normans frequently used the name of their estate in Normandy as part of their name. They also imported a vast number of Norman French personal names, which largely replaced traditional Old English personal names among the upper and middle classes.

Early Origins of the Mainwaring family

The surname Mainwaring was first found in Cheshire where "Randulphus de Mesniwarin, who accompanied William the Conqueror, and received from him Warmingham, Peover, and thirteen other lordships in Cheshire, together with one in Norfolk. His descendants spread into many branches in Cheshire, and into northern counties." [1] [2]

Sir William Dugdale stated "the name of this celebrated family has been spelt in the astonishing number of one hundred and thirty-five forms, in old records and more modern writings."

Also in Cheshire, Ashton was an ancient family seat. "The manor [of Ashton] was held in the reign of Edward I. by the Mainwaring family, from whom it descended by female heirs to the Veres and Trussells." [3]

However some of the family were found south in Devon. "In the reign of Elizabeth the manor [of Sidmouth] was leased to Sir William Perryan, and in that of James I. to Sir Christopher Mainwaring; it was subsequently sold to Sir Edmond Prideaux, with the exception of the great tithes, which were given to Wadham College." [3]

And another branch of the family was found at Baddiley in Cheshire. "Baddiley Hall, once the noble residence of the Mainwarings, is now a farmhouse." [3]

Early History of the Mainwaring family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mainwaring research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1515, 1586, 1589, 1616, 1623, 1625, 1634, 1653, 1656, 1660, 1661, 1689 and 1702 are included under the topic Early Mainwaring History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mainwaring Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Mainwaring, Maynwaring, Mannering and others.

Early Notables of the Mainwaring family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Sir Philip Mainwaring (1589-1661), Principal Secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland (1634) and English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1625 and 1661
  • Sir Thomas Mainwaring, 1st Baronet (1623-1689), Member of Parliament for Cheshire 1660
  • Sir John Mainwaring, 2nd Baronet (1656-1702), Member of Parliament for Cheshire 1689-1702

Ireland Migration of the Mainwaring family to Ireland

Some of the Mainwaring family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Mainwaring migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Mainwaring name or one of its variants:

Mainwaring Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mary Mainwaring, who landed in Maryland in 1650 [4]
  • Thomas Mainwaring, who settled in New Jersey in 1664
Mainwaring Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Charles and James Mainwaring, who settled in Virginia in 1767
Mainwaring Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Mainwaring, who arrived in Colorado in 1896 [4]

Australia Mainwaring migration to Australia +

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

Mainwaring Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Mainwaring, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hindoo" in 1848 [5]

New Zealand Mainwaring 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:

Mainwaring Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Mainwaring, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1843
  • James Mainwaring, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Canute" in 1867

Contemporary Notables of the name Mainwaring (post 1700) +

  • Daniel Mainwaring (1902-1977), American novelist and screenwriter, who sometimes wrote under the name Geoffrey Homes
  • Captain John Mainwaring, American WWII pilot
  • Marion Mainwaring (b. 1922), American novelist
  • John Mainwaring (1735-1807), English theologian and the first biographer of the composer Georg Friedrich Handel
  • Matthew Thomas "Matty" Mainwaring (b. 1990), English football midfielder
  • William Thomas "Billy" Mainwaring (b. 1941), Welsh international second row rugby union player
  • Bernard Mainwaring (1897-1963), British film director
  • Chris Douglas Mainwaring (1965-2007), Australian rules footballer
  • Brigadier Hugh Mainwaring (b. 1906), British Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire (1951-1974), and Lord Lt. of Clwyd (1974-1976)
  • William Henry Mainwaring (1884-1971), Welsh coal miner and trade unionist, who became a long-serving member of the UK Parliament
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Richard D Mainwaring, British Ordnance Artificer 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and survived the sinking [6]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Billy B. Mainwaring, American Fireman Third Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [7]

The Mainwaring 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: Devant si je puis
Motto Translation: Foremost if I can.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. 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)
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HINDOO 1848. Retrieved from
  6. HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from
  7. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook