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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and 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 of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Wadge, Watch, Wage, Wych, Wich and others.

First found in Cornwall where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Westcott. Cornwall was a land set apart, a land of mystique and quaint customs, more strongly related to Brittany and Wales than to England. It was not until the 10th century that they submitted to the Saxon rule of England. Since then, their influence has moved east into Devon, Somerset and Dorset. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253), also known as Richard de Wych was Bishop of Chichester (1244-1253) is a saint and was canonized in 1262. A shrine was built in Chichester Cathedral dedicated to Richard and had become a centre of pilgrimage. In 1538, during the reign of Henry VIII, the shrine was plundered and destroyed by order of Thomas Cromwell. St Richard of Chichester is patron saint of Sussex since 2007, his translated saint's day of 16 June is celebrated as Sussex Day. Wych Street was a street in London, that ran west from the church of St Clement Danes on the Strand to a point towards the southern end of Drury Lane. It was demolished by the London County Council in around 1901, as part of the redevelopment that created the Kingsway and Aldwych.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watch research. Another 157 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1384, 1393, 1384, 1385, 1386, 1390, 1393, 1632, 1707, 1661, 1678, 1681, 1685, 1685, 1689, 1702, 1705, 1676, 1682, 1692, 1693, 1695, 1756, 1554, 1621, 1593, 1643, 1628, 1699, 1607, 1659, 1607 and 1659 are included under the topic Early Watch History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 231 words (16 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Watch Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Watch:

Watch Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Tho Watch, who landed in Virginia in 1650

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  1. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  11. ...

The Watch Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Watch Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 November 2015 at 08:16.

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