Ravenshaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Ravenshaw has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived at the village of Ravenshaw, in Warwickshire. Ravenshaw is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. In this case the surname was originally derived from the Old English words used to refer to those individuals who lived near the raven wood, indicating that the original bearers lived near a forest that was occupied by many ravens.
Early Origins of the Ravenshaw family
The surname Ravenshaw was first found in Lancashire where the first on record was Stephen de Ravenshagh, listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332.  However, another source claims the family were from Ravenshaw, "some small but, I fear, lost spot in East Cheshire." 
We are somewhat cautious about the last author's claim as the first record of the family in Cheshire was relatively late: Sir Ralphe Raynshae, vicar of Potte in 1548, more that two hundred years after the aforementioned first listing in 1332. But from the 1548 listing, there are numerous listings in East Cheshire in the 16th and 17th centuries including those found in the Wills at Chester: John Ravenshaw, of Walkerton in 1673; John Rainshaw, of Sale, 1647; John Renshaw, yeoman, of Mobberley, 1661; John Renshall, of Sale, 1679; Ralph Renshall, of Mobberley, 1680; and Richard Renshaw, of Sale, 1680. 
Early History of the Ravenshaw family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ravenshaw research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ravenshaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ravenshaw Spelling Variations
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Ravenshaw have been found, including Renshaw, Ravenshaw, Renshall, Olerenshaw and many more.
Early Notables of the Ravenshaw family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Ravenshaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ravenshaw family
Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Ravenshaw, or a variant listed above: Henry Renshaw, who settled in Virginia in 1763 with his wife Isabella; Christopher Renshaw arrived in Philadelphia in 1750; David, Francis, Hugh, James, William Renshaw all arrived in Philadelphia between 1800 and 1870..
Related Stories +
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)