Edmonds Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Edmonds Meaning
Edmund as a name is Anglo-Saxon in origin and predates the Norman Conquest. It is composed of the elements ead meaning “prosperity” or “fortune” and mund meaning “protection.” The name was often bestowed in honor of an East Anglian King, St. Edmund the Martyr, who was killed by Danish invaders in 869. Edmonds and Edmunds are the main surname spellings today.

Edmonds Resources on

Edmonds Ancestry

England. The Edmonds and Edmunds surnames are primarily
to be found in southern England, both SE England and SW England.

SE England. Here the starting point
appears to have been
the market town of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.
the 1100’s the surname “de St. Edmunds”
had emerged in Suffolk and later spread to nearby counties:

  • Robert
    de St.
    Edmunds was the chief bailiff in Cambridge in 1258
  • Adam
    de St. Edmund was the
    mayor of King’s Lynn in Norfolk in the 1280’s
  • and
    James de St. Edmunds was a
    sheriff in London in 1310.

By 1500 the spelling had become Edmonds.
Richard Edmonds was
a vicar at St. Peter’s at Chalfont in Buckinghamshire in 1471 and
Edmonds was master of the choristers at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor in
1480.There were also Edmonds:

  • at Cressing Temple in Essex, where Andrew Edmonds founded
    a free school on his death in 1523.
  • at Cambridge, where John
    Edmonds was the MP in 1586.
  • and at Yapton in west Sussex, where John Edmonds, a
    yeoman farmer, was first recorded in 1546 and came into possession of
    the Yapton manor
    in 1568. The Edmonds held Yapton Place
    for exactly a hundred years.

SW England. The line
from Henry Edmonds of
New Sarum near Salisbury in Wiltshire, born around 1508, extended to
Edmonds, a tax collector in Plymouth, and to his son Sir Thomas
Edmonds, a
diplomat w
served under three successive monarchs – Elizabeth, James I and Charles
I – and
occupied the office of Treasurer of the Royal Household from 1618
to 1639.

Nicholas Edmonds of Kingston in Dorset, born
around 1543, is believed to have been the forefather of Josiah Edmonds of Kingston
two hundred years later and of his son
Thomas who joined the Royal Navy.

Possibly related to this family was a certain
Mrs. Edmonds from the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. Born
around 1633 she died in 1738 at the
grand age of 105. She left four children
and sixty grand and great grandchildren.

Edmonds who married Ann Bennett in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire in 1781
was a clothier by
trade. He was the forefather
of the Edmonds who emigrated to South Australia in the 1840’s.

Edmund could be a Welsh first name and the
Edmunds surname, not generally Edmonds, extended into south Wales.

was one early reference in Monmouthshire to John Edmunds, a yeoman
farmer from
Llangebi, who was indicted for trespass in 1577. William
Edmunds from Usk emigrated to America
in the late 1600’s; while the Edmunds name had begun to appear in the
of Trevethin and Skenfrith by the late 1700’s. David
Edmunds, born around 1789, was an innkeeper in Budwellty.

There were also Edmunds recorded
around Caerphilly across the border in Glamorgan – William Edmunds at Eglwysilan
in the early 1700’s and Edmund
Edmunds at Machen in the late 1700’s.

Ireland. Some
English Edmonds came to Ireland. John Edmonds for
a Protestant from Cheshire, fled to Dublin in 1554 to
avoid religious persecution
during Bloody Mary’s rule. Robert
Edmonds of Larch Hill in Kilkenny was nine times mayor of the town
between 1790
and 1810. There were also Edmonds in
Wexford around this time.

America. Early Edmonds were to be
found in New England
and Virginia.

New England. Two
notable lines began here with:

  • William Edmonds who came to New England in 1630
    and settled in Lynn, Massachusetts. He
    was by trade a tailor and later ran a tavern.
  • and Andrew Edmonds who arrived in New England possibly in
    1660’s. He made his home in Rhode
    Island, but spent much of his time fighting against the Indians, first
    in 1675 during
    King Philip’s War and then ten years later against the Maine

of William’s descendants moved to
upstate New York and to Canada and later to Kansas; while Andrew’s
were to be found in Vermont and in Canada as well.
George F. Edmunds, who was born in Vermont in
1826, became the US Senator for Vermont in 1866.

An oral tradition exists that there were three
Edmonds brothers – James, William and Andrew – who came to New England.
have speculated that the William and Andrew Edmonds here were related. But there is no real evidence to that. Indeed it is not known where either of them
came from in England.

. There were more Edmonds in
Virginia. Even today, there are more
Edmonds in
Virginia than in any other state of the Union.

The first to arrive was probably
Elias Edmonds who made his home along the Corrotoman river around the
1632. He was the immigrant ancestor of
the Edmonds of Lancaster county. Elias
and William Edmonds were early settlers in Fauquier county in the
1740’s. Their sons Elias and William were
colonels at the time of the Revolutionary War.

Another line began with the John
Edmonds who was born in Virginia (of unknown parentage), married Mary
and died in Amherst county in 1784.
Later Edmonds moved to Kentucky and South Carolina.

There was an Edmunds line from Monmouthshire in Wales that began with
Howell Edmunds in Surry county, Virginia around 1700:

  • this line extended to John Edmunds, a
    prominent planter in Sussex county, and to his son Thomas Edmunds who fought in
    the Revolutionary War and afterwards expanded
    his plantation at Farnham so that he became the largest landowner in
  • while another line via Nicholas
    Edmunds led to Henry Edmunds who established his plantation at Elm Hill
    Halifax county around the year 1810. Later
    homes of the family in the county were at Redfield and

Augustus Edmonds came to America from
Berkshire in England in 1779, settling in Pennsylvania. He was a
by trade, served on the American side in the Revolutionary War, and was
given a
land grant. His descendants made their
home in Ohio.

Canada. Loyalist Edmonds left
America for Leeds county, Ontario after the Revolutionary War was over. Interestingly, there were descendants of both
William Edmonds and Andrew Edmonds who made the journey there.

Australia. John Edmonds, a sixteen-year
old errand boy on the streets of London, was convicted of robbery in
1830 and
transported to Sydney on the Lord
. After his marriage to Rosina
Smith, a fellow convict, he lived at Maitland, NSW where they had ten
children. He died around 1890. One of his sons Walter became a prominent NSW

Edmonds from Wiltshire were early settlers of South
Australia. William and Elizabeth Edmonds
arrived at Port Adelaide on the Fairlie
in 1840, shortly after their marriage.
He tried his hand at brewing beer, but unsuccessfully, and
was appointed clerk of a local court.
One line of this family led to Harry Edmonds, a South Australian
from 1944 until his death in 1962.

Zealand.  John
Samuel Edmonds was a
Christian missionary from Dorset who arrived with his family in the
region of New Zealand in 1835. He was a
stonemason by trade and helped to build the wharf at Kerikeri in
the late
1830’s. The descendants of his son
Samuel are in possession of the family bible which had been handed down
to the
eldest son, as was the tradition at the time.

John Edmonds from London came to Christchurch as a young man in 1879. He started manufacturing baking powder which
he publicized by his free Edmonds Cookery
. by 1912 he was moving one million cans of baking
powder a year; by 1928 two and a half million cans


Edmonds Miscellany

Edmund the Martyr and Bury St. Edmunds.  Edmund was King of East Anglia from around 855 until his death in 869.
At that time a Danish army advanced on East Anglia and killed
Edmund.  It was said that, after he
refused the Danes’ demand that he renounce Christ, the Danes beat him,
shot him
with arrows, and then beheaded him.

By 925 the fame of St Edmund had spread far
and wide and Bury St. Edmunds Abbey in Suffolk had become a site of
pilgrimage.  The name of the market town
of Bury was then changed to Bury St Edmunds. By the 1100’s the surname of ‘de
St. Edmunds’ (from Bury St. Edmunds) had emerged in Suffolk and was
later to be
found in nearby counties. 

Edmonds and Edmunds Today

Numbers (000’s) Edmonds Edmunds Total
UK    9    8   17
America   10    3   13
Elsewhere    9    5   14
Total   28   16   44

The Edmonds spelling is more to be found in England, the US, and Australia; Edmunds more in

Josiah and Thomas Edmonds of Dorset and Hampshire.  Josiah Edmonds was born in Corfe Castle, Dorset in 1727, married there and lived his
life out at
Kingston nearby.  As did his eldest son
John, a carter by trade.

Josiah’s second son Thomas joined the Royal Navy in
1769, became a Master in 1797 and a Superintendent Master at Portsmouth
1811.  This naval life was handed down to
his son Thomas who was a Commander and to his daughter Martha who
Spencer Smyth, a midshipman at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Thomas’s second
son John, however, decided to be a missionary instead.
He departed for India in 1824, but had to
return three years later as the climate did not agree with him.  He became a minister of a Congregational
chapel in Staffordshire.

William Edmunds and His Land in Glamorgan.  William Edmunds left a life interest in land at Eglwysilan
near Caerphilly in Glamorgan to his wife Mary in 1739.
She promptly sold the land to John Richard of
Llandaff, thereby dispossessing the heirs of William Edmunds of their

In trying to reclaim the lands at Eglwysilan the Edmunds
took their case to the court at Swansea where the verdict was found in
favour.  However, they lost their case at the assizes on appeal.

Samuel Edmonds in the Revolutionary War and After.  Samuel Edmonds was born in New York City in 1760, the grandson of Charles Edmonds who had arrived there some thirty years earlier.

war came, he joined the Continental army, served through the war,
became a
commissioned officer, and was present at both Monmouth and Yorktown.

At the
close of hostilities he started out to seek his fortune, being the
possessor of
a horse, saddle, bridle, two blankets, and a little Continental money.  With this outfit he journeyed northward and
came to Claverack Landing.

There he became a paymaster general of the
militia, a member of the Assembly, and sheriff of Columbia county, New
York.  He died in 1825.

Thomas Edmunds in the Revolutionary War and After.  Thomas Edmunds
from Sussex county, Virginia enlisted in the Continental army with the
Virginia Regiment during the early stages of the Revolutionary War.

He was soon
appointed a captain of that regiment.
Although seriously wounded in one leg at the Battle of
Brandywine in
September 1777, he continued fighting throughout the balance of the war.  He served with the army at Valley Forge and
at Eutaw Springs, where he was wounded again in September 1781.

In 1786 the
county court recommended that Edmunds be appointed colonel of the local
but he refused the commission.  Later
references to Colonel Edmunds may have been rendered out of respect
rather than
official designation.  He did receive a
bounty of 4,000 acres for his war service.

In April 1784 Sussex county voters
elected Edmunds to the House of Delegates.
His popularity as a wounded veteran was probably a factor in his
here.  He was returned to the House in
1787 and won election to four more one-year terms.

John Samuel Edmonds and His Children in New Zealand.  John Samuel Edmonds was a Christian missionary from Dorset who came with his family and the Rev. John Tucker to the
region of New Zealand in 1835.  He was
the father, with his wife Mary Ann, of eleven children, five born
before their
arrival in New Zealand and six afterwards.
However, he disowned two of them.

Arthur Edmonds, born in England in
1825, adopted the Maori name of Aala, having married a Maori
woman.  His
father disowned him for having married her.

John Tucker Edmonds, born
in 1835, was named after the Rev. John Tucker.
He too was disowned.  When John
Samuel listed his children in the family bible he omitted John Tucker
and would refer to him as “Edmonds by name but not by blood.”   It was thought that Mary Ann and the
John Tucker had an affair and, as to not cause
controversy within the missionary community, John Samuel claimed John
Edmonds as his own but only by name.



Edmonds Names

  • Sir Thomas Edmonds was a diplomat who served under three successive monarchs – Elizabeth,
    James I and Charles I – and occupied the office of Treasurer of the Royal
    Household from 1618 to 1639. 
  • George F. Edmunds was elected the US Senator for Vermont in 1866. 
  • T.J. Edmonds was a New Zealand manufacturer in the early 1900’s who became famous
    for his Sure To Rise baking powder and his Edmonds
    Cookery Book
  • Noel Edmonds has been a fixture on British TV for more than forty years as a presenter of light entertainment programs.

Select Edmonds Numbers Today

  • 17,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 13,000 in America (most numerous in Virginia)
  • 14,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply