Mewiss History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The first people to use the distinguished Mewiss 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 Mewiss family

The surname Mewiss 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 Mewiss family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mewiss 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 Mewiss History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mewiss Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Mewiss were recorded, including Mew, Mews, Mewes, Meux, Mewis, Muse, Mewsse, Mowse, Meaux and many more.

Early Notables of the Mewiss 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 Mewiss Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Mewiss family

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Mewiss arrived in North America very early: Jeremy, Dorothy, and William Mew, who arrived in Barbados in 1654; Carolina Mewes settled in Texas in 1854. In Newfoundland, John Mew was a merchant of St. John's in 1805..



  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)


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