Melhuish History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Melhuish. 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 Melhuish 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 Melhuish is a local type of surname and the Melhuish family lived in Melhuish in Devon. The surname Melhuish 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 Melhuish family

The surname Melhuish was first found in Devon where they held a family seat from ancient times as Lords of the Manor of Melhuish in that shire, some say, well before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 A.D. The original name of the village was Melewis. Conjecturally the family name is descended from Hugh of Rennes, holder of the village of Melhuish from Baldwin, Sheriff of Devon at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book Survey in 1086 A.D.

Early History of the Melhuish family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Melhuish research. Another 69 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1527, 1643, 1554, 1555, 1554, 1555, 1557 and 1558 are included under the topic Early Melhuish History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Melhuish 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 Melhuish, Melhuiss, Mellhuish, Mellhuiss and others.

Early Notables of the Melhuish family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Melhuish, an English merchant and politician, Member of Parliament for Truro, Cornwall (1554 to 1555.) In 1554 Melhuish abandoned Parliament without a licence and evaded summons to the King's Bench. For three years...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Melhuish Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Melhuish migration to the United States

Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Melhuish were

Melhuish Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Agnes Melhuish, a convict servant sent to Virginia in 1719
  • William Melhuish, who settled in America in 1740
Melhuish Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mary Melhuish, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1819
  • John Melhuish, who was naturalized in Michigan in 1872

Melhuish migration to Australia

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

Melhuish Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Melhuish, aged 30, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "John Bunyan" [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Melhuish (post 1700)

  • Christopher Melhuish (b. 1955), English cricketer, a right-handed batsman who played for Devon
  • Ramsay Melhuish, British non-trance musician
  • Professor Chris Melhuish, English professor in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of the West of England, Bristol
  • John Melhuish Strudwick (1849-1935), British Pre-Raphaelite Painter

Citations

  1. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 24th May 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) John Bunyan 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/johnbunyan1854.shtml
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