Show ContentsNewnham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Newnham is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived in one of several places called Newnham throughout England. The place-name is derived from the Old English elements niwe, which means new, and ham, which means farm or village. [1]

The Domesday Book of 1086 includes early entries for Neuneham, (Gloucestershire) and Neuham (Hertfordshire.) [2] Both of these parishes would later be known as Newnham including the ancient Saxon parish in Northamptonshire, first known as Niwanham c. 1021-1031.

Early Origins of the Newnham family

The surname Newnham was first found in Cambridgeshire where Ralph de Neunenham was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [3]

Another source notes that the family held "an estate in and near Rotherfield, co. Sussex, which had owners of its own name in the XIV, century." [4]

In Newnham, Gloucestershire "was anciently a castle, which in the time of our Norman kings constituted one of the fortresses of the Welsh frontier, but there are no traces of it." [5]

John de Newenham (d. 1382?), was Chamberlain of the Exchequer, "probably came of the Newenhams of Northamptonshire; he may be the John de Newenham who was rector of St. Mary-le-Bow in 1350. In 1352 he was incumbent of Stowe, and in 1353 of Ecton, both in Northamptonshire. In 1356 he acted on behalf of the prior and convent of Newenham or Newnham, Northamptonshire; and in 1359 he became prebendary of Bishopshill in Lichfield Cathedral." [6]

Thomas de Newenham (fl. 1393), Clerk in Chancery, was in all probability younger brother of the above; he is first mentioned as a clerk in chancery in 1367, when, like his brother, he appears for the convent of Newenham. He was one of the three persons appointed to the custody of the great seal (4 May to 21 June 1377), and on 22 June he delivered up the great seal to Richard II on his accession. [6]

Robert de Newenham was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296 and much later, George Newnam was found in Devon in 1642. [7]

Early History of the Newnham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Newnham research. Another 122 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1576, 1743, 1750 and 1806 are included under the topic Early Newnham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Newnham Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Newnham has been spelled many different ways, including Newnam, Newnham, Newenham, Newengham, Newnhom, Newnom and many more.

Early Notables of the Newnham family

Notables of the family at this time include

  • Thomas Newnham of Newnham

Ireland Migration of the Newnham family to Ireland

Some of the Newnham family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Newnham migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Newnhams to arrive in North America:

Newnham Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Newnham, who settled in Maine in 1654
  • John Newnham, who landed in Virginia in 1655 [8]
Newnham Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Albert George Newnham, aged 6, who landed in America from Chatham, England, in 1909
  • Ann Sarah Newnham, aged 30, who settled in America from Chatham, England, in 1909
  • Bertha Newnham, aged 21, who landed in America, in 1909
  • F.W. Newnham, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Arthur Newnham, aged 43, who immigrated to the United States, in 1919
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Newnham migration to Australia +

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

Newnham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Henry Newnham, British Convict who was convicted in Kent, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 25th April 1840, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. William Newnham who was convicted in Lewes, East Sussex, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "David Malcolm" on 13th May 1845, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island [10]
  • Edward Newnham, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Harpley" in 1849 [11]
  • William Newnham, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Harpley" in 1849 [11]

New Zealand Newnham 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:

Newnham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Emma Newnham, (b. 1817), aged 43, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Gananoque" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 9th May 1860 [12]

Contemporary Notables of the name Newnham (post 1700) +

  • Richard L. Newnham, American Democratic Party politician, Superior Court Judge in Michigan of Grand Rapids, 1900-05; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1928 [13]
  • Charles R. Newnham, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Fulton and Hamilton counties, 1919 [13]
  • Jervois Arthur Newnham (1852-1941), Anglican bishop in Canada from 1893 to 1921
  • Tom Newnham (b. 1926), New Zealand political activist and former educationalist
  • Colonel Lanceray Arthur Newnham GC, MC (1889-1943), posthumously awarded the George Cross for the gallantry he showed in resisting Japanese torture
  • Captain Ian Frederick Newnham, Chief of Naval Staff

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert Newnham (b. 1922), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Brighton, Sussex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [14]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Keith George Newnham (d. 1939), British Signalman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]
  • Ernest Edgar Newnham (1910-1939), British Leading Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  8. 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)
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th January 2020). Retrieved from
  10. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st June 2021). Retrieved from
  11. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HARPLEY 1849. Retrieved from
  12. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  13. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 19) . Retrieved from
  14. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from
  15. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook