Renshaw History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Renshaw date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence at the village of Ravenshaw, in Warwickshire. Renshaw 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 Renshaw family

The surname Renshaw was first found in Lancashire where the first on record was Stephen de Ravenshagh, listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332. [1] However, another source claims the family were from Ravenshaw, "some small but, I fear, lost spot in East Cheshire." [2]

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. [2]

Early History of the Renshaw family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Renshaw research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Renshaw History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Renshaw Spelling Variations

Renshaw has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Renshaw have been found, including Renshaw, Ravenshaw, Renshall, Olerenshaw and many more.

Early Notables of the Renshaw family (pre 1700)

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


United States Renshaw migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Renshaws to arrive on North American shores:

Renshaw Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Christopher Renshaw, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1750
  • Henry Renshaw, who settled in Virginia in 1763 with his wife Isabella
Renshaw Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A W Renshaw, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • David, Francis, Hugh, James, William Renshaw all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1800 and 1870
  • Thomas Renshaw, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [3]

Canada Renshaw migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Renshaw Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Renshaw U.E. (b. 1755) who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1835 [4]
  • Mr. Thomas Renshaw U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [4]

Australia Renshaw migration to Australia +

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

Renshaw Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Renshaw, British Convict who was convicted in Lancaster, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Michael Renshaw, aged 36, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "William Hammond" [6]

New Zealand Renshaw 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:

Renshaw Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Benjamin Renshaw, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1880
  • Helen Renshaw, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1880

Contemporary Notables of the name Renshaw (post 1700) +

  • Samuel Renshaw (1892-1981), American psychologist
  • Deborah Renshaw (b. 1975), American NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver
  • W. C. W. Renshaw, American Democrat politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Cabell County, 1917-18 [7]
  • Steven J. Renshaw, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 25th District, 1990 [7]
  • Samuel J. Renshaw, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 1840-41 [7]
  • Robert H. Renshaw, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 6th District, 1984, 1986 [7]
  • Margaret Renshaw, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1972 [7]
  • Maidee B. Renshaw, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1924 [7]
  • Elizabeth P. Renshaw, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Darien, 1937-40 [7]
  • Ernest and William Renshaw (1861-1899), English twin brother tennis players, who together won seven men's doubles titles at Wimbledon
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Harold Renshaw, British Stoker 2ne Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [8]
  • Mr. Kenneth Renshaw, British Engine Room Artificer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [8]
HMS Royal Oak
  • J.W. Renshaw, British Engineer Commander with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [9]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1837
  6. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 20th January 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Willaim Hammond 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/williamhammond1854.shtml.
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 21) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  9. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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