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22 feb 2022

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Adamthwaite Archive

"The website IS the one-name study!"



Have you been helped by the information on this site?  If you would like to contribute to the cost of our DNA project, just £10 would help towards the cost of DNA kits!

History of the Adamthwaites:

The next instance of an Adamthwaite is found in 'A Biographical Register of University of Oxford to AD1500' where we find a record of the ordination of Roland Adamthwayte as priest at New College Chapel on 28 Feb 1461 [Reg. Waynflete, Win., 1 pt ii]


Several mentions of the original group of farms at Adamthwaite (with individuals holding the surname Adamthwaite amongst the tenants listed) have been found in manorial documents dating back to the mid 1500s. The present building was rebuilt by Thomas Adamthwaite in 1684 - this is now the only farm that is occupied, though there are ruins of other buildings still visible nearby.


Origins of the Adamthwaite surname

The meaning of the name: ‘Thwaite’ - A variety of opinions as to the meaning of this termination has been entertained.  In Eng Surn. 1 it was defined, upon the authority of an intelligent correspondent, as “land reclaimed from a wood or forest”, while “a rough marshy ground”, and “a pasture” were also suggested.


"According to Verstegen, the pluralized version, Thwaytes, signifies “a feller of wood.”  A correspondent of the Gentleman’s Magazine, August 1856 makes it “a set of farm buildings”.  I think the origin of the word must be looked for in the Anglo-Saxon word thweotan to cut down and that it means an open space or field cleared in a wooded area.   I find this opinion supported by Halliwell – “land which was once covered with wood, brought into pasture or tillage”.  It is therefore, nearly or quite synonymous with Royd (?).  The prefix seems sometimes to refer to the name of the settler who effected the clearing, as in Adamthwaite, Simonthwaite, Godderthwaite, sometimes to the trees etc. cleared as in Thornthwaite, Linethwaite, Hawthornthwaite, Brackenthwaite, and sometimes to less intelligible causes.  The termination prevails in the counties of Cumberland , Westmorland and North Lancashire."  From the notebook of EA – name of author not recorded


How the place name 'Adamthwaite' turned into a surname

It is widely agreed that Adamthwaite is a locative surname - one that was adopted by someone 'from Adamthwaite'.  Normally you would expect to find early evidence of locative surnames a short distance away from their place of origin - in a neighbouring town or even county.  But the earliest manorial records we have found dating to 1541 show people with the surname living AT Adamthwaite Farm, alongside other families with other surnames.  This seems to be explained as soon as the parish registers begin in 1571. Ravenstonedale was a very large parish, much of which was sparsely populated, and there were many families carrying the same surnames spread across the parish.   So the parish clerk very helpfully identified which individual he was referring to by adding his abode.  So we find entries relating to "William Adamthwaite of Adamthwaite" alongside others relating to "William Adamthwaite of Artelgarth", or "William Fothergill of Adamthwaite".  You can read more about my theories about the origins and migration of the surname in a paper written for the Advanced One-Name Studies Course at Pharos Tutors (click on image left).  The table referred to in the article can be viewed here [an abridged version of this article was published in the Journal of the Guild of One-name Studies in April 2012] 



Nowadays, there are no true variants of the surname, but in past times there were many variations and deviations.  The earliest occurrences of the name appear as Adamthwayt, Adamtwyat and Adamthwat, later becoming Adamthwait.  The current form is usually Adamthwaite (occasionally Adamsthwaite).  However, the variety of mistranscriptions, particularly on on-line censuses, is amazing – Idamthwate, Adamthavale, Adamshwaste, Adam Hinote, Adamthvisete, Adamtunriz, Adanthwill, Adamthoah, Dolamothwaite, Adamttimould, Adam Schwarte, and my personal favourite Shdamthawa.  I am assured that the correct pronunciation (in and around Ravenstonedale at least) is Adamth’t. [HINT: if you are searching records, the best way of picking up most mistranscriptions is to enter adamt* as your search term]

4 Adamthwaite farm and Harter Fell

Adamthwaite farm and the Howgill Fells - the full version of our banner photo! Paula took this photo some years ago, I think in late summer; the photo on the right was taken by Anthony in March 2014 (coincidentally from exactly the same spot!)  This photo gives you an idea of just how bleak the surrounding area

The links to the right will take you to other parts of this 'History' section of the website, where you can discover more about the history of the Adamthwaites, and Adamthwaite Farm.


This is one of the Sections of this website where I regularly report new discoveries, so do come back often to see what's new!

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adamthwaite from Anthony

The obvious place to start has to be Adamthwaite Farm in Ravenstonedale!

becomes in winter... does anyone have a photo of the farm when it is snowed in?  To get a wider view of the area around Adamthwaite - visit this page, where, in addition to more photos from around Ravenstonedale, you will find links to Anthony's 'Wander in the Howgills' and to one of Paula's walks in the same area. Both walks include maps showing the exact route taken, just in case you want to walk in their footsteps!


Early Adamthwaite records

It seems highly likely that the earliest Adamthwaites were occupants of an isolated group of farmhouses called Adamthwaite which is located on the moors in the parish of Ravenstonedale, Westmorland.


The first mention of a person with the name occurs in The Pipe Rolls of Cumberland and Westmorland of 1248 which mentions an AdamThwayt,  however this name appears to have evolved from earlier entries (dating 1235 through to 1247) where it is shown as Adam Cayt or Adam Kayet.  However, this person may be totally unrelated to us!

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