Select Wyatt Surname Genealogy

The medieval personal names of Wiot, Wyot and Gyot were of old English origin but could come with a Norman twist (a Guyot was said to have come over with William the Conqueror).  These names became over time surnames that standardized as Wyatt during the 15th and 16th centuries.

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Select Wyatt Ancestry

England.  A Wyatt family were local squires at Southange (South Haigh) in west Yorkshire, claiming a pedigree from an Adam Wyot of Yorkshire in the 14th century.  Their fortunes took a distinct upswing when Henry Wyatt backed Henry Tudor and Henry Tudor became King Henry VII after his defeat of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field.  Henry Wyatt was one of his Privy Counsellors and remained a trusted advisor when Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509.   His portrait shows him with a cat by his side.

"When he was confined by Richard III in a cold and narrow tower where he had neither food nor fire, a cat brought him each day a pigeon for his dinner and stayed around to help him keep warm."

The family home was at Allington castle near Maidstone in Kent.  His son Thomas was a well-known lyrical poet; his son, Thomas the younger, led a thwarted rebellion against Queen Mary, known as Wyatt's rebellion, for which he was executed.  The family estates were subsequently restored to his son George in 1571.  A later Wyatt was the first English colonial governor of Virginia.  Another line of this family lived at Horsted Keynes in Sussex.

Staffordshire.  A Wyatt family had long been yeoman farmers at Weeford in Staffordshire and their home there, from the 1560's, was Thickbroome Hall.  The sons and grandsons of John Wyatt became noted architects, in particular the brothers James and Samuel.  This Wyatt architectural dynasty continued through the 18th and 19th centuries. 

The 20th century journalist and politician Woodrow Wyatt was probably no descendant but was ennobled as Baron Wyatt of Weeford.

West Country.  Wyatts date from the 1500's at Braunton, Shirwell and Barnstaple in NW Devon.  Other early west country sightings were at Milverton and Martock (Hurst Barton) in Somerset and at Todenham and Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.  John Wyatt was the rector of Friston near Bath in 1589 and William Wyatt the town clerk of Worcester in 1621.  By the late 19th century, the southwest was accounting for roughly a quarter of all the Wyatts in England.

America.  Sir Francis Wyatt was the first colonial governor of Virginia in 1621.  Although he himself left no descendants in America, his brother the Rev. Hawte Wyatt, who had come to Virginia at the same time, did. His sons Edward, George and John were the forebears - together with a Major William Wyatt of unknown origin - of the early Wyatts in America.  Later Wyatts were to be found at Plain Dealing in Caroline county, Virginia and across the South. 

Samuel Wyatt came to Kentucky from Virginia in 1805.  Early Wyatt settlers in Missouri were:
  • Frank and Polly Wyatt (from North Carolina) in Warren county in 1817.
  • William and Rachel Wyatt (from Tennessee) in Boone county in the 1820's.
  • Frederick and Sarah Wyatt (from Tennessee) in Andrew county in 1840.
  • William and Mary Wyatt (via Indiana) in Jackson county in the 1840's.
Jordan Wyatt and his wife Susannah arrived in Texas from Kentucky in 1846; and John and Ary Wyatt came there from Missouri in 1853.  The oil man Oscar Wyatt was born in Beaumont, Texas in 1924.

The Wyatts in Baltimore started with James Wyatt from Bristol marrying Mary Winslow in Barbados in 1783 while enroute to America.  They were Loyalists and eventually settled in Nova Scotia.  However, their son, the Rev. William Wyatt, moved south and served as the rector of Baltimore's oldest Episcopal church for fifty years. 

"On October 1, 1812 he married Miss Frances Billop with whom he lived happily for more than fifty one years.  They were not separated until after he was confined to his bed by his last sickness.  She bore him eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, of whom five sons and three daughters survived."

Later Wyatts were the prominent New York investment bankers and the actress Jane Wyatt.

Canada.  Henry and Emma Wyatt from Oakley in Suffolk came to Canada in 1841 and built their home, Herberton House, in Burlington, Ontario, where they raised eleven children.  Emma Wyatt documented this family history in 1874. 

William and Jane Wyatt were married in 1845 in the remote North Crosby township in Leeds county, Ontario.  Jane died in the early 1850's and William, now settled there and working as a lumberjack, married an Ann Taylor from Ireland.

Australia.   Joseph Wyatt, an ex-convict, pioneered theatres in Sydney, first with the Theatre Royal in 1835 and then with his Victoria and Prince of Wales theatres.  However, disaster struck in 1860 when the Prince of Wales was burnt to the ground.  Wyatt himself died later in the year.

William Wyatt who arrived in South Australia from Devon in 1837 became a prominent local citizen and benefactor to the city of Adelaide.  When he died there in 1886, he left most of his estate to the Wyatt Benevolent Institution "to benefit persons above the laboring classes in poor or reduced circumstances."  Almost a century later, the fund was still making handouts.

Select Wyatt Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Wyatt Names

Henry Wyatt
was a trusted advisor to both Henry VII and Henry VIII.
Sir Thomas Wyatt was an English 16th century lyrical poet.
James Wyatt was an 18th century English architect, a rival to Robert Adam in the neoclassical style of that time.
Woodrow Wyatt was a controverisial and somewhat eccentric 20th century journalist, writer, and Labor politician.
Oscar Wyatt has been a flamboyant Texas oilman.

Select Wyatts Today
  • 16,000 in the UK (most numerous in Surrey)
  • 17,000 in America (most numerous in Texas).
  • 9,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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