Fielding Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Fielding Meaning
The
surname Fielding is of topographical origin,
describing someone who lived on cleared land or open country. The name derived from the Old English feld meaning pasture or open country –
that is land cleared of forest but not brought into cultivation.
Early spellings were Felden and Fielden and
sometimes Feilding. The related Fielder
surname Fielder was only really to be found in the counties of SE
England.

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Fielding Resources on
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Fielding Ancestry

England.
The
Fieldings (or Feildings) of Newnham Paddox near Rugby in Warwickshire
claimed descent
from
the house of Habsburg through the counts of
Laufenburg and Rheinfelden, but this has been shown to have been based
on forged
documents.

It was John Fylding who acquired the manor in 1433.
Later Fieldings fought in the French wars, on
the Lancastrian side in the War of the Roses, and were buried at the
priory
church of St. Edith’s at Monks
Kirby
. They were on both sides of the
Civil War, Sir
William Feilding
falling on the Royalist side and his son Basil
surviving
on the Parliamentarian side. The family,
ennobled at the time as the Earls of Denbigh, remains seated at Newnham
Paddox.

Some
Fieldings from this line were to be found in SW England:

  • Richard Fielding, a
    Bristol clergyman and merchant in the mid-1600’s. His
    sons held land in Northumberland county,
    Virginia.
  • and Lieutenant Edmund Fielding, son of the canon of
    Salisbury,
    whose two sons – born in Sharpham Park near Glastonbury in Somerset –
    were
    Henry Fielding the famous 18th century novelist and his half-brother
    John. The two of them became London
    magistrates and
    helped found what some have called London’s first police force, the Bow
    Street
    Runners.

Lancashire. The largest number of
Fieldings
, however, was in
the county of Lancashire. They accounted
for more than half the
Fieldings in the 1881 English census. Early
records in Lancashire showed a Ralph Felding in 1276 and a Roger
Fielden or Fielding,
vicar of
Leigh from 1557 to 1574.


The alternative Fielden and Fielding spellings were still evident
in Rochdale in the 1670’s. One family
line began with the birth of James Fielding, son of Jonathan and Mary
Fielding,
at Bleakett Farm in Milnrow near Rochdale in 1745.
A line of these Fieldings moved north to
Middleton near Lancaster. James
Fielding, born in Milnrow in 1817, was baptized into the Mormon church
and left
England for Salt Lake in Utah in 1854.

Fieldings were farmers at Middleton near
Lancaster in the early 1800’s. Samuel
Fielding left there for Gloucestershire in the 1860’s where he joined
up with
James Platt to form the engineering company of Fielding & Platt.

There were also Fieldings towards the Yorkshire
border, at Oswaldwistle on the Lancashire side and Todmorden on the
Yorkshire
side. Those born in or near Halifax in
Yorkshire included:

  • John
    Fielding (occupation unknown) born in 1759
  • Copley
    Fielding
    (watercolor painter) born in 1787
  • Abraham
    Fielding (merchant in Sowerby Bridge) born in
    1790
  • and
    Daniel Fielding (Halifax brewer) born in 1827.

Daniel Fielding & Sons
remained a Halifax brewer until they
were bought out and closed down by Websters in 1961.

Fieldings in Glossop in the
Derbyshire Peak District date from the late 1700’s.
There were Fielding clockmakers and jewellers
recorded in the town during Victorian times.

America. Three
Fielding brothers from Bristol – Ambrose, Richard, and Edward – owned
the Phoenix ship and came to Northumberland
county, Virginia during the 1660’s. Ambrose Fielding
died there in 1675, a relatively
prosperous
planter. The Fieldings of colonial
Virginia descended from him.

Eppa Fielding fought in the Revolutionary War
and his grandson Eppa was a soldier in the Confederate army during the
Civil
War.

Fieldings were also to be found in Hall county, Georgia and
Pendleton county, South Carolina in the 1700’s.

New
Zealand. William Feilding, a
descendant of the Denbigh Feildings, came to New Zealand in 1871, with
the
intent of funding land for new settlers in the colony.
The result was the township of Feilding near
Wellington which was named after him.

Meanwhile Alfred Fielding and his family arrived on the Berar
in 1874. He was from Jersey in the Channel
Islands,
the son of Francois and Marie Fielding, and a painter there. They settled near Wellington.

 

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Fielding Miscellany

Fieldings at Monks Kirby.  St. Edith’s at Monks Kirby in Warwickshire was
formerly a priory church and was built to a huge scale.
The aisled nave and chancel form one vessel
with no structural division – all built of rich red sandstone except
for the
later upper part of the tower, giving it a distinctive two-toned red
and white
look.

The mid-16th century Fielding tombs are in its north east corner.  Sir William Fielding was buried in the
chancel of the church under a raised tomb – whereon lies the effigies
of a
knight in armor, with his wife by him, both at full length, with a lion
at
their feet, and this inscription:

“Here
lyeth the body of Sir William Fielding,
knight, late of Paddox Newnham, who deceased the 24th day of September
1547; and
of Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Poultney, who deceased
the 8th
day of September 1539, who had issue two sons and one daughter.”

The Royalist William Feilding.  William Feilding’s fighting on behalf of the Royalist
cause was valorous but unsuccessful.

He attended Prince Charles on the Spanish
adventure, served as Admiral in the unsuccessful Cadiz Expedition in
1625, and
commanded the disastrous attempt upon Rochelle in 1628.

On the outbreak of the
Civil War, he served under Prince Rupert.
However, in 1643, during Rupert’s attack on Birmingham, he was
wounded
and died from the effects on his wounds.
His courage, unselfishness and devotion to duty at the time were
much
praised by the Earl of Clarendon.

Daniel Fielding & Sons.  Daniel Fielding was baptized
at Ogden near Halifax in 1827.  His
father died soon after and his mother remarried.  He
became a farmer and a brewer.  His early
brewing attempts through
Hainsworth & Fielding failed in 1855 and he later set up his own
brewing company
Daniel Fielding & Sons.  The White
Castle brewery was built at Bradshaw on the outskirts of Halifax.  On Daniel’s death in 1892, the running of the
brewery passed to his two sons Eli and Samuel.

Fielding’s
fine Bradshaw beers and naturally conditioned White Castle
bottled ales continued to be produced at the brewery until 1961. 

Fieldings in the 1881 Census

County Numbers (000) Percent
Lancashire     3.7 57
Yorkshire     1.0     15
Elsewhere     1.8     28
Total     6.5    100

The largest
numbers at that time were in Oldham and Blackburn.

Ambrose Fielding’s House in Virginia.  Ambrose Fielding’s house in Virginia had
the following:

  • a
    “great room” containing “a dining table, a serving table, another small
    table, fourteen rush-bottom chairs, two chests, a cupboard, a bottle
    case and
    bottles, some linen, earthenware, glassware, pewter, two brass
    candlesticks, a
    silver bowl, and a silver tankard.” 
  • in
    one chamber there was ”a ‘great bed with damask canopy, curtains, silk
    counterpane, feather mattress, and blankets; two chairs, a chest, a
    pewter
    basin and ewer, a looking glass, a warming pan, and a brass
    candlestick.”
  • in
    the
    parlor there were “two tables, twelve chairs, a couch, a cupboard,
    several
    books, a Turkey carpet, a pair of silver candlesticks, and four family
    portraits.”

It
would seem that, after a spartan beginning, Virginia
planters such as Ambrose Fielding did all right.

 


Select
Fielding Names

Sir
Geffery
de Felden
,
who took the name of Feilding, was the 13th century forebear of the
Fieldings
of Newnham Paddox.

Henry
Fielding

was the 18th century English novelist, author of Tom Jones.

Copley
Fielding

was a 19th century English watercolor painter.  Alfred Fielding with his Swiss
partner was the inventor of bubble wrap in New Jersey in 1957.
Helen
Fielding
is the English writer best known for her creation of the
Bridget
Jones character.

Select Fielding Numbers Today

  • 10,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

 

 

 

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