Molesworth History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change to the island nation, including many immigrants with new names. Among these immigrants were the ancestors of the Molesworth family, who lived in a place named Molesworth in Cambridgeshire or a place named Mouldsworth in Cheshire. The place-name Molesworth is derived from the Old English word Mulesword, which is composed of the elements mul, which means mule, and word, which means enclosure. The place-name Mouldsworth is derived from the Old English words molda, which means the crown of the head or top of the hill, and word, which again means enclosure. [1]

Early Origins of the Molesworth family

The surname Molesworth was first found in Huntingdon where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Molesworth in that shire. Conjecturally they are descended from Eustace the Sheriff of Huntingdon who held his lands at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book from Countess Judith, a relation of Duke William of Normandy. "Sir Walter de Molesworth was one of Edward the 1st's Crusaders." [2]

Some of the family were found at Tetcott in Devon since early times. "Tetcott House, the beautiful seat of Sir William Molesworth, Bart., was destroyed by fire in May, 1841." [3]

In Cornwall, another ancient branch of the family was found. "The manor of St. Kew, which has long been in the Molesworths, is the property of Sir A. O. Molesworth." [4]

Important Dates for the Molesworth family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Molesworth research. Another 257 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1124, 1689, 1730, 1638, 1689, 1656, 1725, 1680 and 1758 are included under the topic Early Molesworth History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Molesworth Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Molesworth, Molesworthy, Mollsworth, Molsworth, Molswurth, Mollswurth, Mollswirth, Moleswirth, Mullsworth, Moldworth, Moldsworth and many more.

Early Notables of the Molesworth family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Hender Molesworth (1638-1689), 1st Baronet Molesworth of Pencarrow, Governor of Jamaica; Robert Molesworth (1656-1725), 1st Viscount Molesworth, British statesman, English and Irish landowner, Ambassador to Denmark, Ambassador to Sweden...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Molesworth Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Molesworth migration to the United States

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Molesworth or a variant listed above:

Molesworth Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Guy Molesworth, who landed in Virginia in 1651 [5]
  • Mary Molesworth, who arrived in Maryland in 1678 [5]

Molesworth 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:

Molesworth Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • F. A. Molesworth, aged 21, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • Mr. F. A. Molesworth, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in Port Nicholson, Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1840 [6]
  • David Molesworth, aged 29, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Molesworth (post 1700)

  • Mary Louisa Molesworth (1839-1921), English writer of children's stories, wrote under the name of Mrs Molesworth
  • Richard Molesworth (1680-1758), 3rd Viscount Molesworth, British Field Marshal, English war hero, Commander in Chief for Ireland, Lieutenant of the Ordnance in Ireland, Commanding Officer of the Coldstream Guards
  • Robert Molesworth (1656-1725), 1st Viscount Molesworth, British statesman, English and Irish landowner, Ambassador to Denmark, Ambassador to Sweden, founder of the "Molesworth circle" of scientific minds
  • Sir John Molesworth (1729-1775), 5th Baronet Molesworth of Pencarrow, MP for Cornwall, 1765 to 1775
  • Sir William Molesworth (1758-1798), 6th Baronet Molesworth of Pencarrow, MP for Cornwall, 1784 to 1790
  • William Nassau Molesworth (1816-1890), English historian
  • Maud Margaret "Mall" Molesworth (1894-1985), Australian tennis champion of the inaugural Australasian Championships in 1922
  • Sir William Molesworth (1810-1855), 8th Baronet, British statesman, Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Field Commissioner of Works
  • Sir Guilford Molesworth (1828-1925), British civil and railway engineer
  • Lieutenant-General George Molesworth CSI, CBE (1890-1968), British army officer, Military Secretary to the India Office
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Citations

  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
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