Thew History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Thew can be traced to the ancient Celtic culture of Wales. The surname Thew is derived from the Welsh word "tew," which means "portly" or "plump," and was most likely originally a nickname for a heavy-set person.

Early Origins of the Thew family

The surname Thew was first found in Cardiganshire (Welsh: Sir Aberteifi), the former Kingdom of Ceredigion, created as a county in 1282 by Edward I, and located on the West coast of Wales, where they held a family seat anciently. Traditionally they claim descent from Rhodri Mawr, the first great King of Wales through Lord Rhys, Prince of South Wales. Gwenllian, daughter of John Tew married Dafydd Llywellyn Lloyd of Castle Howel, first knight of the shire for Cardiganshire.

Early History of the Thew family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thew research. Another 34 words (2 lines of text) covering the years 1654, 1718, 1714, 1715, 1650 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Thew History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thew Spelling Variations

Although there are not an extremely large number Welsh surnames, there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations of those surnames. This variety of spellings began almost immediately after the acceptance of surnames within Welsh society. As time progressed, these old Brythonic names were eventually were recorded in English. This process was problematic in that many of the highly inflected sounds of the native language of Wales could not be properly captured in English. Some families, however, did decide to modify their own names to indicate a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even a patriotic affiliation. The name Thew has seen various spelling variations: Tew, Tews, Tewell, Tewel, Tuel, Tuell and others.

Early Notables of the Thew family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was John Tew of Cardigan; Henry Tew (1654-1718), early American 16th Deputy Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (1714-1715); and Thomas Tew (c. 1650-1695), American pirate who gained notoriety in the Red Sea...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thew Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Thew family to Ireland

Some of the Thew family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Thew migration to Australia +

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

Thew Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Thew, (b. 1809), aged 25, English groom who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 14 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [1]

New Zealand Thew 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:

Thew Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Thew, (b. 1841), aged 20, British labourer travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 10th February 1862 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Thew (post 1700) +

  • Harvey Francis Thew (1883-1946), American screenwriter, best known for his work on The Winning of Sally Temple (1917) and later The Public Enemy (1931); he had 92 credits to his name
  • Daniel Thew, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Orange County, 1792-93 [3]
  • Charles N. Thew (b. 1867), American politician, Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention 8th District, 1907-08 [3]
  • Julian "Yoyo" Thew, English professional poker player who as of 2011 had amassed 2,600,000 in winnings
  • Robert Thew (1758-1802), English engraver from Patrington, Holderness, Yorkshire, he rose to become historical engraver to the Prince of Wales
  • Linda McCullough Thew (1918-2013), British author of short stories and books, best known for her memoir entitled The Pit Village and the Store, which was later dramatized for British television
  • Manora Alice Thew (1891-1987), born in Negapatam, Madras, an English actress, known for At the Villa Rose (1920), The Polar Star (1919) and The Man and the Moment (1918)


  1. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 22) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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