Show ContentsTrowbridge History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Trowbridge was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Trowbridge family lived in Devon, at Trowbridge. Further research showed the name was derived from the Old English word for a wooden bridge.

"The name signifies 'through the bridge;' perhaps given for some feat of daring, or bodily courage." [1]

Early Origins of the Trowbridge family

The surname Trowbridge was first found in Devon where conjecturally they are believed to be descended from two Norman knights Richard and Reginald who held the lands of Modbury from the Count of Mortaine as shown in the Domesday Book which was surveyed in 1086 A.D. The land was shown to have 30 goats. [2]

Trowbridge is also a market-town and parish, in the union and hundred of Melksham, Westbury and N. divisions, and Trowbridge and Bradford subdivisions, of Wiltshire. "It was anciently a royal manor, forming part of the duchy of Lancaster, having been granted by the crown to John of Gaunt. The estate afterwards reverted to the crown, and was given by Henry VIII., in the 28th year of his reign, to Sir Edward Seymour, Knt., Viscount Beauchamp." [3] So, while one would presume that this market-town was the place of origin of the surname, it was indeed not.

Early rolls include Walter de Trobrigge in the Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire in 1184 and William de Trewebrugg in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1275. [4]

In Somerset, Richard Trowbrigge; John de Trowbrugge; and William de Trowbrugge were recorded 1 Edward III, (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [5]

Early History of the Trowbridge family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Trowbridge research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1583, 1731, 1758, 1768, 1773, 1774, 1776, 1780, 1781, 1807 and 1809 are included under the topic Early Trowbridge History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Trowbridge Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Trowbridge, Troubridge, Trobridge and others.

Early Notables of the Trowbridge family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Thomas Troubridge (1758?-1807), rear-admiral, born in London about 1758, son of Richard Troubridge. He was admitted on the foundation of St. Paul's school, London, on 22 Feb. 1768, ‘aged 10’ (Gardiner, Register of St. Paul's School, p. 139). It is doubtfully said (Naval Chronicle, xxiii. 1) that he made, as a boy, a voyage to the West Indies in a merchant ship. All that is certainly known is that he entered the navy on board the Seahorse frigate on 8 Oct. 1773, in the rating of ‘able seaman,’ and was then described...
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Trowbridge Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Trowbridge Ranking

In the United States, the name Trowbridge is the 4,887th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]

United States Trowbridge migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Trowbridge or a variant listed above:

Trowbridge Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Trowbridge, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1634 [7]
  • Thomas Trowbridge, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1636
  • James Trowbridge, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1658 [7]
Trowbridge Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Trowbridge, who settled in Norfolk Virginia in 1822
  • James and George Trowbridge, who settled in Barnstable Massachusetts in 1822
  • S. Trowbridge, who settled in New York in 1823
  • J H Trowbridge, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [7]
  • John H Trowbridge, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Trowbridge migration to Australia +

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

Trowbridge Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Trowbridge, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Richard Trowbridge, English convict who was convicted in Wiltshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 27 September 1834, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • William Trowbridge, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [10]
  • William Holcott Trowbridge (aged 20), a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Gomelza"

Contemporary Notables of the name Trowbridge (post 1700) +

  • Charles Trowbridge (1882-1967), Mexico-born, American film actor who appeared in 233 films between 1915 and 1958
  • William Petit Trowbridge (1828-1892), American mechanical engineer, military officer, and naturalist, founder of Trowbridge & Livingston, an architectural practice based in New York City in 1862
  • Alexander Buel Trowbridge Jr., American professor of Russian History at the American University, Washington, D.C
  • Alexander Buel Trowbridge Sr., American Dean of the Cornell University College of the Architecture (1897-1902)
  • Rowland Ebenezer Trowbridge (1821-1881), American politician, member of the U.S. Congress from Michigan, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture during the 40th United States Congress
  • Alexander Buel Trowbridge III (1929-2006), American civil servant, 17th US Secretary of Commerce (1967-1968)
  • John Townsend Trowbridge (1827-1916), American novelist and poet
  • Charles Christopher Trowbridge (1800-1883), American explorer, politician, businessman, and ethnographer of Native American cultures
  • Eugene A. Trowbridge, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 12 aerial victories
  • Sir Richard Trowbridge, English Royal Navy Rear Admiral, Governor of Western Australia (1980-1983)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. William C Trowbridge (b. 1919), Scottish Petty Officer serving for the Royal Navy from Uphall, West Lothian, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [11]

Suggested Readings for the name Trowbridge +

  • Rhoades, Trowbridge, And Related Families by Myrtle Savage Rhoades.

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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)
  8. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th August 2020). Retrieved from
  10. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from
  11. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook