Mew History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The first people to use the distinguished Mew family name in England were found in the settlement of Meaux (Meux) in the East Riding of Yorkshire and accordingly, most sources agree that the name is a Yorkshire name.

Looking back further, Meaux is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in France and it is here that it is thought that the family originated. Roger Muse was listed in the "Norman Exchequer Rolls of 1198-1203 and Godfridus de la Mosca held a fief from Philip Augustus of the honour of Malherbe. " [1]

Alternatively the name could have been derived from the Old English word Meaw which meant "a gull" or a "sea-mew." To complicate matters more, Meaw was also an Old English personal name and mue, derived from an Old French word was a cage for hawks that was used while they were mewing or moulting. [2] [3]

We believe that the name is more likely to have been a local name originating in Normandy, as opposed to an occupational name.

Early Origins of the Mew family

The surname Mew was first found in Yorkshire at Meux or Maeux, (pronouced 'mews') a township, in the parish of Waghen, union of Beverley, Middle division of the wapentake of Holderness in the East Riding. [4]

And it is here that the first record of the name, Algarus filius Meawes was listed in 1016 as an Old English byname. Over one hundred years later, John de Mehus was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1196. A few years later, Hugo de Mues was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1201. Thomas de Meuse was listed in the Feet of Fines in 1282. [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Isabel Mus and John de Muse in Essex. John le Mouse or Mows was found in Wiltshire in the Palgraves's Parliamentary Writs (1307-1325.) [1]

Again in Yorkshire, "in 1309, Thomas Mus de Arkilgarth,chaplain, was, with several others, prosecuted by Eve de Kaggardgill of Arkilgarth in Richmondshiro, for the murder of her husband. William Peverel of Dover's Charter to Shrewsbury Abbey is witnessed by William de Musca and another William de Musca (or the same?) held half a knight's fee of William de Ros in Northamptonshire." [1]

"One of the persecuted [Knights] Templars in 1309 was Brother Philip de Mewes, who, 'being advised and earnestly exhorted to abandon his religious profession, replied that he would rather die than do so.' " [1]

Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had two listings of the family (both in the East Riding): William de Mewse; and John de Mewhes. Bother held land there at that time. [6]

Early History of the Mew family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mew research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1641, 1829, 1831, 1619, 1706, 1672, 1619, 1637, 1641, 1645, 1642, 1657, 1640, 1644, 1641 and 1657 are included under the topic Early Mew History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mew Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Mew, Mews, Mewes, Meux, Mewis, Muse, Mewsse, Mowse, Meaux and many more.

Early Notables of the Mew family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Peter Mews (1619-1706), an English Royalist theologian and Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1672, from Caundle Purse, Dorset. Born at Purse Candle, near Sherborne, Dorset, on 25 March 1619, he was sent to Merchant Taylors' School at the charge of his uncle, Dr. Winniffe, then dean of St. Paul's. He was elected scholar of St. John's College, Oxford, 11 June 1637, and...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mew Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Mew migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Mew or a variant listed above:

Mew Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ralph Mew, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [7]
  • Ann Mew, who arrived in Maryland in 1668 [7]
  • Ellis Mew, who landed in New England in 1671 [7]
  • James Mew, who arrived in Virginia in 1698 [7]
Mew Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Peter Mew, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [7]

Canada Mew migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Mew Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

New Zealand Mew 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:

Mew Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Mew, aged 36, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maori" in 1864
  • Charlotte Mew, aged 35, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maori" in 1864
  • Charlotte Mew, aged 10, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maori" in 1864
  • William Mew, aged 18 mths., who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maori" in 1864

West Indies Mew migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [9]
Mew Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Jeremy, Dorothy, and William Mew, who, who arrived in Barbados in 1654

Contemporary Notables of the name Mew (post 1700) +

  • Charlotte Mary Mew (1869-1928), English poet and short story writer from Bloomsbury, London
  • Peter Mew, British senior mastering engineer at Abbey Road Studios from 1965 to 2013; he started his career at Abbey Road as a tea boy


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  9. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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