Swayne History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The saga of the name Swayne begins among the Viking settlers who arrived in Scotland in the medieval era. The name Swayne is derived from the Old English personal name Swein, which was originally derived from the Old Norse name Sveinn. This was one of the most common Scandinavian names in medieval Britain. Another source claims the name was an occupational name for someone "who acted as a servant or attendant; one who tended swine; descendant of Swain (young man, or boy servant)." [1]

Sweyn or Svein (d. 1014), was "King of England and Denmark, called Forkbeard, son of Harold Blaatand, King of Denmark, probably by his Queen Gunhild, though it was said that his mother was a Slav, a servant in the house of Palna-Toki, or Tokko, in Funen. " [2]

Earl Sweyn or Swegen (d. 1052), "the eldest son of Earl Godwin or Godwine and his wife Gytha, was early in 1043, when Edward or Eadward, called the Confessor, had become king, appointed to an earldom that was partly Mercian and partly West-Saxon, for it included Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Somerset. " [2]

Early Origins of the Swayne family

The surname Swayne was first found in Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, from very early times.

Further south in England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed early spelling of the family: John le Swein and Robert le Swein in Oxfordshire; and Geoffrey le Sueyn in Norfolk. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists: Robertus Swaynne. [3]

"The ancient name of Swain, which is now best represented in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Devonshire, was established in the form of Sweyn, rarely of Swayn, during the 13th century in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Oxfordshire, being most numerous in the last two counties. " [4]

Early History of the Swayne family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swayne research. Another 204 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1100, 1214, 1250, 1499, 1521, 1585, 1690, 1680, 1542, 1609, 1540, 1550, 1510 and are included under the topic Early Swayne History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Swayne Spelling Variations

Contemporary spellings of ancient Scottish names often bear little resemblance to the original recorded versions. These spelling variations result from the fact that medieval scribes spelled words and names alike according to their sounds. Swayne has been spelled Swan, Swann, Swanner, Swani, Swayne, Swein, Sweing, Sweyn and many more.

Early Notables of the Swayne family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Charles Swan (killed 1690), who was forced into piracy by his crew in the 1680s. He was killed when he attempted to escape back to England on a Dutch ship with five thousand pounds. Robert Some...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swayne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Swayne family to Ireland

Some of the Swayne family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Swayne migration to the United States +

The colonies on the fertile east coast of North America soon had many farms run by Scots. These hardy settlers provided a backbone for the great nations of the United States and Canada that would emerge in the next centuries. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Scottish name Swayne or a variant listed above, including:

Swayne Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Swayne, aged 22, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • Elizabeth Swayne, aged 15, who arrived in New England in 1635 [5]
  • Francis Swayne, aged 14, who landed in New England in 1635 [5]
  • Richard Swayne, aged 34, who arrived in America in 1635 [5]
  • Tho Swayne, aged 23, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Swayne migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Swayne Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Swayne, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843

Australia Swayne migration to Australia +

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

Swayne Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Swayne, British convict who was convicted in Gloucester, England for life, transported aboard the "Henry Tanner" on 27th June 1834, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Swayne (post 1700) +

  • Harry Swayne, American professional offensive tackle
  • Charles H. Swayne (1842-1907), United States federal judge
  • Kevin Swayne (b. 1975), American football wide receiver
  • Wager Swayne (1834-1902), American Union Army general
  • Noah Haynes Swayne (1804-1884), American jurist and politician
  • Harry Walter Swayne (1869-1911), English first-class cricketer
  • Sir Eric John Eagles Swayne (1863-1929), British army officer and colonial administrator
  • Geraldine Swayne, British painter, musician, and filmmaker
  • The Rt Rev William Shuckburgh Swayne (1862-1941), English eminent Anglican priest and author
  • Lieutenant General Sir John George des Reaux Swayne (1890-1964), British General Officer Commanding South-East Command
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Swayne 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: Fidelitas
Motto Translation: Fidelity.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  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. ^ 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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/henry-tanner


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