Show ContentsWouldforthay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 added many new elements to an already vibrant culture. Among these were thousands of new names. The Wouldforthay family lived in Leicestershire, at Woodford which was in turn derived from the words wood and ford, and refers to a residence near both a ford and a wood. [1]

"The Middle English form was usually Wodeford, as in the case of the Wiltshire and Somerset places. The Anglo-Saxon form was Wudaforda, as in a Hampshire charter dated A.D. 701. " [2]

Early Origins of the Wouldforthay family

The surname Wouldforthay was first found in Leicestershire, but there is also a parish in Wiltshire, four miles from Salisbury and a parish in Essex, eight miles from London. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 showed scattered listings for the family: Geoffrey de Wodeford, Wiltshire; Symon Wodeford, Buckinghamshire; and Nicholas de Wodeford, Gloucestershire. [3]

Kirby's Quest listed "Geoffrey de Wodeford, Somerset, 1 Edward I [(during the first year's reign of King Edward I)]" [4]

William of Woodford or Wydford (fl. 1380-1411), was "a Franciscan and was educated at Oxford, where he graduated D.D. There is little doubt that Woodford is the William de Wydford whom Margaret, countess of Norfolk, described in 1384 as her 'well-beloved father in God,' and for the term of whose life she granted the minoresses of Aldgate. " [5]

Scotland is of note too as the name was derived "from the lands of the same name in the parish of St. Boswells, Roxburghshire. Jordan de Wodford witnessed a charter of Walter de Berkeley, c. 1170, and Walterus de Wudeford witnessed a confirmation charter by Alexander II in Peebles, 1228. Robert de Wodforde sometime between 1285 and 1306 bestowed his whole property of Wodfordehous in the territory of Lessedewyne upon the monks of Melrose. " [6]

Early History of the Wouldforthay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wouldforthay research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1330, 1354, 1338, 1358, 1226, 1333, 1636, 1700, 1636, 1676 and 1680 are included under the topic Early Wouldforthay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wouldforthay 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 Woodford, Woodforde, Woodfort, Wudeford, Wudefort, Woodforte, Wuidford, Wuidfort, Wodefort, Wodeford, Woodfurt, Woodfurte, Woodferte, Woodferd, Wyfordby, Wydford, Wyford, Wyfort and many more.

Early Notables of the Wouldforthay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Samuel Woodford (1636-1700), English divine and poet, born on 15 April 1636 in the parish of All Hallows in the Wall, London. He was the eldest...
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wouldforthay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Wouldforthay family to Ireland

Some of the Wouldforthay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Wouldforthay family

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 Wouldforthay or a variant listed above: Richard Woodford and Roger arrived in Virginia in 1651; Thomas Woodford arrived in Massachusetts in 1632; Thomas Woodford arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts from Lincolnshire in 1631.



The Wouldforthay 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: Pro aris et focis
Motto Translation: For our altars and our home.


  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. 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. 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.
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)


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