Twining Surname Genealogy

The English
surname Twining derived from the place-name Twyning, a village near
in Gloucestershire. This name appeared
in pre-Norman Saxon charters as
Bituinaeum and as Tuninge and Tveninge in the
Domesday Book of 1086.
Originally the name came from the Old English words betweon
, meaning “the place between
the streams.”  The latter form was a
derivative of the early name plus the Old English suffix -ingas,
meaning “the people of’ the place between the streams.”The
two streams in this case were the rivers Avon and Severn..

Twining Resources on

Twining Ancestry

is a Gloucestershire name.  There was a
manor at Twining from the 13th century and the Twining name was
prominent at an
early time at Tewkesbury two miles away.
Richard was recorded as a monk at Tewkesbury abbey in 1472 and
Thomas in
1539.  John
Twining appeared as the abbot at Winchicombe in 1474.

Twinings were dispersed at the time of the dissolution of the
monasteries in
the 1530’s.  They were subsequently to be
found in the Vale of Evesham further north at Pershore and further
south at Painswick.  This early history of
the Twinings was
described in the Rev. William Twining’s 1899 book Some
Facts in the History of the Twining Family

Twinings Who Left.
The two most notable Twinings
were two who left the area.  Both came
from the town of Painswick twenty miles south of Tewkesbury.  This was the centre of the wool trade in
Gloucestershire in medieval times.

The first here is thought to have been William
Twining who departed for America around 1635 and settled with his
family on
Cape Cod.  Born in 1599, he was said to
have been the son of William Twenynge and Mabel Newcombe, although there is no absolute proof that this
was so.  If true, he was probably
descended from Thomas Twenynge who had been born in Painswick around
the year

The second was Thomas Twining who left Painswick
for London in 1684 when he was nine years old.  He left because
his father
Daniel, a weaver, had been out of work and facing hard times.  In London Thomas learnt about the tea
business while working for an East India Company merchant.
He opened Britain’s first tea room on the
Strand and his business prospered.

“The House of Twining was founded on this
site in the Strand in the year 1706.  The
building was
destroyed by enemy action in 1941 and rebuilt in 1952.”

After Thomas’s death in 1741 the business was carried on by his son
Daniel and then by Daniel’s wife Mary.
In 1784, at a time when tea smuggling was rife, their son Richard Twining played a key
role in
lowering the tax on tea, thereby promoting the drinking of tea in

Overall, the Twinings tea business has passed through ten generations
of Twinings, including Stephen

the most recent who joined after the sale to Associated British Foods
in 1964.

Who Spread.  The 1881 census showed
the largest number of Twinings in Gloucestershire, with some spread
into Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

Some Twinings remained at Painswick.  John
Twining of Painswick
lived there during the 1700’s.
Thomas Twining was born
there in 1775.  His son John married Mary
Smart there in 1814.  Their son Thomas
was charged with embezzlement in Painswick in 1836 and was transported
on the Recovery to Australia.

From the
Twinings at Pershore across the border in Worcestershire came:

  • John Twining who
    was tried at Evesham in 1651 for his Royalist support during the Civil
  • Thomas Twining, born in 1675, who was a vicar at Wilford
    in Nottinghamshire;
    and other Twining clergymen who went to Pembrokeshire in Wales.
  • and the line
    which extended to the Rev. William Twining in London and then to his
    son Francis,
    created Baron Twining for his services with the Colonial Office in
    Africa in
    the 1950’s.

Other Twinings had moved to Birmingham by the 19th


There were Twinings from Pershore who settled
Pembrokeshire in the early 1700’s.  The
Rev. Benjamin Twining, the rector at Amroth, died there in 1757 at the
age of
ninety-seven.  William Twining went as a
missionary to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1787.
And Daniel Twining emigrated to the US West Coast in 1882.

America.  The forefather of most
Twinings in America is
William Twining.  He arrived in New England
1635 and settled with his family on Cape
Cod.  His line in America was covered in
Thomas Twining’s 1905 book The Twining

William died on Cape Cod in
1659.  His son William was a deacon at
the Eastham Congregational church, but in later life became a Quaker.  Seeking to escape Puritan New England, he
moved around 1695 to Newtown
in Bucks
county, Pennsylvania.

Here the Twining family split:

  • the
    older son William and his descendants
    remaining in Eastham and Orleans nearby
  • and
    the younger son Stephen following
    his father to Bucks county, to Newtown and Wrightstown nearby.

A line from Eastham led to Deacon Stephen Twining who moved to New Haven and
served in the
1820’s as the Steward to Yale College.
His son William S. Twining was also a clergyman and settled in
in 1835.  His son William J. Twining was
a major in the US Army and the Military Commissioner for the District
Columbia from 1878 until his death in 1882.
The district of Twining in Washington DC was named after him.

A line from Wrightstown migrated first to upstate New York and then in
the 1850’s via Nathan Crook Twining to Wisconsin where he fought in the
War and was later a schoolmaster: 

  • his son Nathan Crook Jr came to be regarded as
    one of the US Navy’s most brilliant officers and served as its Chief of
    during World War One.  
  • while Nathan Crook
    Jr’s nephews Nathan and Merrill were commanders in their own right in
    1950’s, Nathan as Chief of Staff of the US Air Force and Merrill as a
    US Marine
    Corps general.  

Hugh Twining came to Wisconsin from upstate New York
somewhat later and
farmed there before moving onto Colorado.
His son Warren served in the Colorado state House of
from 1925 to 1934

Twining Miscellany

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

Twining Names

William Twining
who came to New England around 1635 was the
forefather of most Twinings in America.
was the founder of Twinings tea company.
He opened Britain’s first tea room on the
Strand in London in 1706.
Richard Twining

was instrumental in reducing the tax on imported tea in 1784, thereby
the tea revolution in England.

Nathan Crook Twining
was regarded as one of the US Navy’s most
brilliant officers and served as its Chief of Staff during World War One

Select Twinings Today

  • 500 in the UK (most numerous
    in Gloucestershire)
  • 600 in America (most numerous in Ohio)
  • 300 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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