Willoughby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Willoughby is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Willoughby family lived in Lincolnshire at Willoughby.

Early Origins of the Willoughby family

The surname Willoughby was first found in Lincolnshire where Sir William de Willoughby was Lord of Willoughby, a Norman knight who was granted the estates by William the Conqueror. Baron Willoughby de Eresby was a title created by writ in 1313 for Robert de Willoughby.

"Thorganby Hall [in Thorganby], formerly the seat of the Willoughbys, is an ancient and handsome stone mansion, situated in well-wooded grounds commanding fine prospects." [1]

Matson in Gloucestershire played an important place in England's history. "This place, during the siege of Gloucester, became the head-quarters of Charles I.; and the ancient manorhouse, erected by Sir Ambrose Willoughby, Knt., in the reign of Elizabeth, was on that occasion occupied by the king's sons, Charles and James." [1]

Further to the south in Cornwall, an early branch of the family was found in Dorset. "The Willoughbys of Dorsetshire had formerly a seat on the barton of Carvynick or Car-vin-ike [in the parish of St. Endover]. From this family it was carried by a co-heiress to a branch of the Arundells of Lanherne. On failure of male issue in this branch, it was carried in marriage by the heiress of Zach. Arundell, to Anthony Tanner, gent. descended from the Tanners of Court and Bodenick, in St. Stephens Brannell." [2]

Early History of the Willoughby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willoughby research. Another 329 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1492, 1502, 1471, 1528, 1554, 1370, 1409, 1399, 1400, 1401, 1402, 1404, 1406, 1452, 1502, 1497, 1554, 1515, 1570, 1537, 1603, 1584, 1617, 1452, 1502, 1472, 1521, 1640, 1669, 1664, 1666, 1667, 1670, 1638, 1674, 1635, 1672, 1670 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Willoughby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Willoughby Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Willoughby, Willowby and others.

Early Notables of the Willoughby family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby de Eresby (c.1370-1409), an English Baron, joined Bolingbroke, the future King Henry IV, soon after his landing at Ravenspur, he was present at the abdication of Richard II in the Tower in 1399, and was one of the peers who consented to King Richard's imprisonment, taken part in Henry IV's expedition to Scotland (1400), admitted to the Order of the Garter (1401), among those appointed to negotiate with the Welsh rebel, Owain Glyndair (1402), he remained loyal to the King, was appointed to the King's council, among the...
Another 183 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Willoughby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Willoughby Ranking

In the United States, the name Willoughby is the 2,075th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [3]


United States Willoughby migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Willoughby name or one of its variants:

Willoughby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Willoughby, who arrived in Norfolk, Virginia aboard the Prosperous in 1610
  • Francis Willoughby, who arrived in Charlestown Massachusetts in 1631
  • Peter Willoughby, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • Francis Willoughby, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1639 [4]
  • John Willoughby, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Willoughby Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Willoughby, who arrived in Georgia in 1733 with his wife and two sons and two daughters
Willoughby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel A Willoughby, who arrived in New York in 1824 [4]

Canada Willoughby migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Willoughby Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mary Willoughby, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Henry Willoughby, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Edward Chapman Willoughby, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1793

Australia Willoughby migration to Australia +

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

Willoughby Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Willoughby, British Convict who was convicted in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Caledonia" on 5th July 1820, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Mr. George Willoughby, English convict who was convicted in Essex, England for life, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 20th August 1830, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Henry Willoughby, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Henry Porcher" in 1838 [7]
  • Eliza Grace Willoughby, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Henry Porcher" in 1838 [7]
  • Eliza Willoughby, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Henry Porcher" in 1838 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Willoughby 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:

Willoughby Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary A. Willoughby, aged 23, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Accrington" in 1863
  • Miss Mary A. Willoughby, (b. 1840), aged 23, Cornish charwoman departing on 18th June 1863 aboard the ship "Accrington" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 5th September 1863 [8]
  • Henry Willoughby, aged 48, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1873
  • Jane Willoughby, aged 42, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1873
  • Susan Willoughby, aged 10, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1873
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Willoughby migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [9]
Willoughby Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Lady Ann Willoughby, who arrived in Barbados in 1679 with her servants

Contemporary Notables of the name Willoughby (post 1700) +

  • Larry Willoughby (1947-2021), American country music singer-songwriter, vice president of A&R at Capitol Records
  • Kim Marie Willoughby (b. 1980), American Olympic volleyball player
  • William Wesley "Bill" Willoughby (b. 1957), American retired professional NBA basketball player
  • William F. Willoughby (1867-1960), American academic
  • Westel W. Willoughby (1867-1945), American political theorist, twin brother of William F. Willoughby
  • Lillian Willoughby (1916-2009), American founder of Take Back the Night
  • Major General Charles A. Willoughby (1892-1972), American military officer who served as General Douglas MacArthur's Chief of Intelligence
  • Holly Willoughby (b. 1981), English television presenter, BAFTA winner (2006)
  • Mr. Thomas Willoughby, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1502 to 1503, he was Mayor in 1518
  • Mr. Richard Willoughby, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1530 to 1531
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • Kenneth H. Willoughby, British Leading Writer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [10]


The Willoughby 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: Verite sans peur
Motto Translation: Truth without fear.


Suggested Readings for the name Willoughby +

  • The Willoughbys of Connecticut by Miranda Goodrie Willoughby.
  • The Willoughby Family of New England by Isaac J. Greenwood.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/clyde
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HENY PORCHER 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838HenryPorcher.htm
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  9. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  10. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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