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Sample History: Phillips (Australia content highlighted)


The ancestors of the bearers of the name Phillips were the ancient Britons that inhabited in the hills and Moors of Wales. This surname was derived from the personal name Philip. This name, which was usually Latinized as Philippus, was originally derived from the Greek name Philippos. This Greek name was composed of the words "philein," which means "to love," and "hippos," which means "horse." The personal name Philip owed its popularity to the medieval romances about Alexander the Great, whose father was Philip of Macedon. Phillips comes from beautiful Wales, the mountainous land of the ancient Britons.

After the exodus of the Romans in the 5th century A.D., the ancient Britons were left in possession of Western England, present day Wales and Cumbria, while the Germanic invaders, the Saxons, Jutes and Angles continued a determined invasion from the South-East of England. It was in the year 616, and the Battle of Chester, that the Celts were divided, and Wales, though still a group of kingdoms, came to be a distinct nation. Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri the Great), was the first great Welsh warrior king. In 855, through skilful alliances and practical marriages, he became the king of Powys and much of the rest of Wales. He died in 893, giving Wales to his three sons. Anarawd became King of North Wales, Cadalh became King of South Wales and Mervyn became King of Powys, or mid Wales.

The Phillips surname shares its ancient history with these Welsh chronicles. Bearers of this name were first found in Kent where they were seated from very ancient times. History reveals that the family name is descended from Maximus, the Briton, who, in about 300 A.D. rebelled against his liege lord the Roman Emperor, and actually for a short time became the King of England. Maximus (King of Kent) had invited Hengist and Horsa into England. Later the family was forced back into Wales by the invading Saxons, hence their connection with Rhodri Mawr, the first King of Wales.

From the early records examined, manuscripts such as the Domesday Book, the Pipe Rolls, Hearth Rolls, the Black Book of the Exchequer, and the Curia Regis Rolls, your family name, Phillips, was found with many different spellings. Spelling variations of Phillips include Phillips, Philips, Phillip, Philip, Pilip, Pillips, Fillip, Filip, Filips, Phillipes, Philipes, Phillup, Philups, Fillups, Filups, Pilups, Pillups, Fulop, Fullop, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, marry with another, and have yet another on his or her headstone. Preference for a particular spelling variation could signify a connection with a certain branch of the family, a religious adherence, or an affiliation with a political party or cause. On the other hand, variations could also occur due to regional dialects, translations back and forth between languages, and the way that the clerks and church officials of the day chose to record the spelling of a name.

The Norman Conquest of Wales in the 11th century was less than conclusive, in fact Wales was not actually subdued until the conquest of Edward I in 1301. A testimony to the Welsh fighting spirit is that there are more castles, or ruins of castles, to the square mile in Wales than anywhere else in the world. But even as peace gradually returned to this picturesque country, many Welsh, attracted by economic opportunity, moved eastward into the English cities.

The distinguished Welsh family name Phillips emerged in Pembroke. The main branch of the Phillips family was at Dale Castle in the county of Pembroke, Wales, who claimed descendancy from Tudwal "of the wounded knee." He was wounded at a battle fought against the Saxons and Danes near Conway in North Wales in the year 878. The battle was known as "The Revenge of Roderick" (referring to Rhodri Mawr, first King of Wales). The family branched to Herefordshire and other counties along the Welsh/English border, where they held vast lands and territories during the 11th and 12th centuries. Dale Castle was still held by the family, however, until the nineteenth century. The family flourished and branched north even as far as Cheshire, Lancashire, and into Scotland. Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Ambrose Philips (circa 1674-1749), a poet who wrote "Winter-piece" for Tonson and other important pieces. He should not be confused with John Philips (1676-1709) another poet, who wrote "The Splendid Shilling" in 1701 and others. Edward Phillips (1630- c.1696) and his brother John Phillips (1631-1706) both wrote important works in that same era.

For the next two or three centuries the surname Phillips flourished and played an important role in local county politics and in the affairs of Britain in general.

The power of the Church, and the Crown, their assessments, tithes, and demands, imposed a heavy burden on rich and poor alike. Many looked to the New World for salvation. Some, such as Captain Morgan, even became pirates who roamed the islands of the West Indies.

The Plantation of Ulster, in Ireland, by the British crown, offered an opportunity for settlers to obtain land in exchange for pledging to remain protestant. Those who immigrated to Ireland were granted lands previously owned by the native Catholic Irish. The Phillips family migrated to Ireland and settled in the counties of Cavan and Monaghan.

The lure of the New World also beckoned the Welsh. They sailed to the New World aboard dangerous, overcrowded sailing ships that sometimes arrived with only 60 or 70% of the original passenger list left alive.

Immigrants to North America bearing the Phillips surname or one of its spelling variations include Elinor and Henry Phillips who settled in Virginia in 1623; John, Edward, William, Andrew, Bodman, Charles, David, Griffith, James and Jo Phillips, who all settled with their families in Virginia between 1635 and 1667; Evan Phillips, who settled in Newfoundland between 1663-1679; William Phillips, who settled in the Barbados in 1670; Lieutenant Phillips, who settled in Boston, Mass; as well as Abraham, Alexander, Ann, David, and George Phillips, who all settled in Philadelphia between 1807 and 1840.

Almost 70% of the immigrants landing in the United States arrived through the port of New York. From there they followed opportunities into the North American heartland.

Many of the earliest settlers to Australia were convicts, transported from Britain to live and work in the penal colonies, others were offered incentives and financial assistance.

At least 14 of the name Phillips arrived as convicts in the late 1700's. First Fleet convicts include: Richard, from London and Mary, from Taunton. Second Fleet convicts include: Samuel, from Somerset; Thomas, from Warwick and Sarah, from Middlesex. Third Fleet convicts include: Daniel, from Stafford; Israel, from Middlesex; John, from London; Joseph, from London; Mark, from Sussex; Mary, from Warwick; Nicholas, from Middllesex; Thomas, from Buckinghamshire and Thomas, from Middlesex.

Among many notable contemporary bearers of this name are Percy Phillips (1882-1961) Australian, composer; Admiral Arthur Phillip (1738-1814) English, 1st Governor of New South Wales; William Phillips (1878-1968), American diplomat, who was ambassador to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Canada, and Italy; Samuel Cornelius (Sam) Phillips (1923-2003), American, music producer, who founded Sun Records in 1952; Mark Anthony Peter Phillips (b. 1948), British, married Princess Anne in 1973, divorced in 1992; Elizabeth J. Phillips, American inventor, whose: "The Landlord's Game" (patented 1904) was sold to Parker Brothers in 1935, who changed the name to: "Monopoly;" Alban William Housego Phillips (1914-1975) New Zealand economist, originator and eponym of the Phillips curve; as well as William Daniel Phillips (b. 1948), American Nobel Prize winnig physicist (1997).

Whilst researching a Coat of Arms born by a bearer of the Phillips family name, we attempted to find the most ancient grant of Arms.

The Coat of Arms found was: A black lion rampant gorged with a crown and chained on a silver shield crowned gold.

The Crest was: A lion.

The ancient family Motto for this distinguished name was: Ducit amor patriae.

Motto translation: Patriotism leads me.


This page was last modified on 14 February 2011 at 14:58.

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