Maugham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Maugham. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Maugham family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Maugham is a local type of surname and the Maugham family lived in the village of Mawgan in Cornwall. The surname Maugham is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel.

Early Origins of the Maugham family

The surname Maugham was first found in Cornwall at St. Mawgan in Pydar or Mawgan. St. Mawgan claims its name from Mawgan, a Brythonic saint who flourished in the 5th or 6th century. Little is known about the saint and many believe that the saint is one in the same as Meugan who was listed as a saint about the same time in Wales. As far as the place name is concerned, the earliest record of the place was as "Sanctus Mawan" in the Domesday Book of 1086. [1] St Mawgan Monastery was an ancient monastery located here and was known to have been well established by the time of the Conquest. Mawgan-in-Meneage is a civil parish also found in Cornwall.

Early History of the Maugham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Maugham research. Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Maugham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Maugham Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Maugham, Maughan, Mawgam and others.

Early Notables of the Maugham family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Maugham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Maugham migration to the United States +

An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Maugham or a variant listed above:

Maugham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Maugham, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1868 [2]

Canada Maugham migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Maugham Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Henry Maugham, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774

New Zealand Maugham 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:

Maugham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • T. Maugham, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1872

Contemporary Notables of the name Maugham (post 1700) +

  • William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), known as W. Somerset Maugham, an English playwright, novelist, and short story writer; reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930s; he was a spy for the British Secret Intelligence Service during World War I, known for Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, Cakes and Ale and The Razor's Edge
  • Syrie Maugham (1879-1955), born Gwendoline Maud Syrie Barnardo, a leading British interior decorator of the 1920s and 1930s, wife of Henry Wellcome and later wife of W. Somerset Maugham
  • Robert Cecil Romer "Robin" Maugham (b. 1916), 2nd Viscount Maugham, a British author, best known for his novella, The Servant which was filmed with Dirk Bogarde and James Fox (1963)
  • Frederic Herbert Maugham PC QC (1866-1958), 1st Viscount Maugham, a British lawyer and jurist, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain (1938-1939), son of Robert Ormond Maugham
  • Robert Ormond Maugham, British diplomat and lawyer who handled the legal affairs of the British embassy in Paris, father of W. Somerset Maugham and Frederic Herbert Maugham
  • Mary Elizabeth Maugham (1915-1998), birth name of Mary Elizabeth Hope, Baroness Glen Devon, the only child of W. Somerset Maugham and his mistress, Syrie Wellcome

  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ 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) on Facebook
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