Show ContentsMurgatroyd History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Murgatroyd surname is thought to be a habitational name from an extinct place name near Halifax in West Yorkshire. It has been suggested that the place name derived from the medieval personal name Margaret and the Middle English word "royd," meaning "a clearing." [1]

"This surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'of Mergret's royd,' i.e. Margaret's clearing; This surname has ramified strongly in Yorkshire, the county of its birth. Gilbert and Sullivan have immortalized the name, if it needed immortalizing; but it was a strong flight of fancy to place it so far from its true home." [2] Reaney agrees "from a lost Yorkshire place, 'Margaret's clearing'" [3]

Early Origins of the Murgatroyd family

The surname Murgatroyd was first found in West Yorkshire where one of the first records of the name was Johanus de Morgateroyde who was listed as a constable appointed for the district of Warley in 1371. His name literally meant John of Moor Gate Royde. A few years later in 1379 in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls, John Mergetrode was listed as holding estates in that shire at that time. [2]

"Yorkshire has long been the home of the Murgatroyds. In the 17th century the family owned for a time the Riddlesden estate in Bingley parish; the name is still in Bingley town. James Murgaitroit was a Yorkshire gentleman who subscribed £25 for the defence of his country at the time of the expected Spanish invasion in 1588." [4]

The expression "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" is an expression made famous by Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Snagglepuss and was inspired on the aforementioned Gilbert and Sullivan's "Ruddigore; or, The Witch's Curse," a Victorian comic opera that includes no fewer than seven "Murgatroyd" ghosts, all Baronets to the protagonist (and living) Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd who is disguised as Robin Oakapple, a young farmer. The name has also been lent to other fictional works by Virginia Woolf, Nancy Mitford, Agatha Christie, Clifford B. Hicks and Ann Turner.

Early History of the Murgatroyd family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Murgatroyd research. Another 134 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1726 and 1739 are included under the topic Early Murgatroyd History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Murgatroyd Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Murgatroyd, Murgatroid, Mergatroid, Mergatroyd and many more.

Early Notables of the Murgatroyd family (pre 1700)

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

United States Murgatroyd migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Murgatroyd Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliza Murgatroyd, who arrived in Maryland in 1724
  • Elizabeth Murgatroyd, who arrived in Annapolis, Maryland in 1725
  • John Murgatroyd, who settled in Philadelphia in 1779
Murgatroyd Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Murgatroyd, who landed in New York in 1831 [5]
  • Ellen Murgatroyd, who arrived in Detroit in 1855
  • James H. Murgatroyd, who settled in Ohio in 1891
  • George Murgatroyd, who settled in Ohio in 1891
Murgatroyd Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Edward Hilton Murgatroyd, who settled in Baltimore in 1900
  • Francis Charles Murgatroyd, who arrived in Colorado in 1938

Contemporary Notables of the name Murgatroyd (post 1700) +

  • Henry Murgatroyd (1853-1905), English cricketer who played for Hampshire in 1883
  • Dr. Stephen John Murgatroyd (b. 1950), English writer, broadcaster and University professor
  • Peta Jane Murgatroyd (b. 1986), New Zealand-born, Australian professional dancer, best known for her appearances on Dancing with the Stars
  • Gavin Bryan Murgatroyd (b. 1969), Namibian cricketer
  • William A. Murgatroyd (b. 1893), analytical chemist
  • Cecil G. Murgatroyd (1958-2001), long-running satirical political candidate in Australia and New Zealand
  • Bryan Murgatroyd (b. 1969), Namibian cricketer

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Frederick Murgatroyd, British Engine Room Artificer 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and survived the sinking [6]

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. 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. HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook