Show ContentsSelway History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Selway comes from the personal name Saelwig which is an Old English word meaning prosperity war. The personal name Saelwig was an ancient font name that was brought to England by the Normans. After the Norman Conquest, the Old English naming system gradually dissolved. Old English names became less common and were replaced by popular continental European names. The earliest surnames in England were found shortly after the Norman Conquest and are of Norman French rather than native English origins.

Early Origins of the Selway family

The surname Selway was first found in Staffordshire where "about the reign of Henry III, William Salwey was Lord of Leacroft, a hamlet in the parish of Cannock in Staffordshire; hence the family removed to Stanford in Worcestershire; of which John Salwey was owner in the third of Henry IV." 1

Early History of the Selway family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Selway research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1216, 1575, 1615, 1640, 1652, 1655, 1675, 1685 and 1702 are included under the topic Early Selway History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Selway Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Selway has appeared include Salwey, Sewyn, Selwyn, Selwin, Sallowaye and others.

Early Notables of the Selway family

Notables of this surname at this time include: Arthur Salwey of Stanford Court at Stanford-on-Teme, Worcestershire; and his son, Humphrey Salwey (1575-1652), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Worcestershire (1640), buried in Westminster Abbey; Richard Salwey (1615-1685?) an...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Selway Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Selway migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Selway arrived in North America very early:

Selway Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Selway, who arrived in Maryland in 1652-1658 2

Australia Selway migration to Australia +

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

Selway Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Frederick Selway, aged 26, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Ascendant" 3
  • Anne Selway, aged 25, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" 4
  • Anne Selway, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" in 1849 4
  • John Selway, aged 26, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Thetis" 5

New Zealand Selway 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:

Selway Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A. Selway, aged 18, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Schiehallion" in 1872

Contemporary Notables of the name Selway (post 1700) +

  • George Rhys Selway (1905-1989), American prelate, Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan in The Episcopal Church, serving from 1964 to 1972
  • Robert Roy Selway Jr. (1902-1967), United States Army Air Forces officer, first commanding officer of the 477th Medium Bombardment Group of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II
  • Andy Selway, English drummer, well known for his work with KMFDM
  • Philip James "Phil" Selway (b. 1967), English musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer of English rock group Radiohead
  • George Selway (1924-1994), British actor, known for A Tale of Two Cities (1965), New Ramps for Old (1956) and Doctor Who (1963)
  • Mary Selway (1936-2004), British casting director, known for her work on Love Actually (2003), Gosford Park (2001) and Superman (1978).
  • Air Marshal Sir Anthony Dunkerton "Mark" Selway KCB DFC (1909-1984), British Royal Air Force officer, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at RAF Coastal Command
  • Bradley Maxwell Selway (1955-2005), Australian Judge of the Federal Court of Australia

The Selway Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fiat voluntas dei
Motto Translation: The will of God be done.

  1. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. 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)
  3. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ASCENDANT 1849. Retrieved from
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HARRY LORREQUER 1849. Retrieved from
  5. South Australian Register Friday 1st September 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Emigrant 1854. Retrieved on Facebook