Wayne Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Wayne Surname Meaning

Wayne originates from the Middle English wain meaning a “cart” or “wagon” with its roots in the Old English waegn or waegen. The constellation of the Plow was known in the Middle Ages as Charles’s Wain. 

The surname may be either locational, describing a place-name, or occupational, as a wagon-driver. Waghen near Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire could be a candidate as the place-name.

Wayne Surname Resources on The Internet

Wayne Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Derbyshire)
  • to America

England.  Wayne is not a common surname in England, with less than 300 recorded in the 1881 census. The main focus for these Waynes has been the county of Derbyshire.

The name John Attenwayne was recorded in Derbyshire in 1327 and Richard Wayne has been traced to Hertbill in Derbyshire in the early 1400’s.

From his line came Captain Anthony Wayne, born on the Derbyshire/Yorkshire border, who came to Ireland in the 1680’s, settled in county Wicklow, and later crossed the Atlantic to Pennsylvania. His ancestry can be found in Edwin Sellers’ 1927 book The English Ancestry of the Wayne Family.

Another Wayne line in Derbyshire began with the birth of William Wayne in Brassington in 1731. The Rev. William Wayne was vicar of Parwich in the 1830’s. In nearby Yorkshire, Christopher Wayne served as mayor of Richmond in 1757. Mary Wayne was recorded as operating a beer house near Richmond in the early 1800’s.

America. Captain Anthony Wayne and his family came from Wicklow in Ireland to Chester county, Pennsylvania in 1724. General Anthony Wayne (nicknamed Mad Anthony), his grandson, was a hero of the Revolutionary War. Many places, such as Fort Wayne in Indiana, were named after him. The General’s son Isaac was a US Congressman from Chester county. His descendants are still resident at the family home of Waynesboro.

Richard Wayne came from Yorkshire in 1759 to Charleston where he prospered as a merchant. He moved after the Revolutionary War to Savannah. His son James served as mayor of Savannah in 1817 and was a US Supreme Court Justice in Washington until his death in 1867; while his grandson Richard served as the first elected mayor of Savannah for four terms between 1844 and 1858.

There was a Wayne family in Georgia descended from Preacher John Wayne of Hall county, Georgia in the early 1800’s. William Wayne and his wife Elizabeth lived in the 1850’s in Shelbyville, Kentucky. The son George, a soldier in the Civil War, later migrated west to California.

The actor John Wayne was born Marion Morrison and had Irish roots going back to county Antrim in the late 17th century.

Wayne Surname Miscellany

Captain Anthony Wayne.  Captain Anthony Wayne commanded a company of dragoons in King William’s campaign in Ireland against the deposed James II which culminated in 1689 in the Battle of the Boyne.  He was awarded additional confiscated land in the Irish Pale near Rathdrum, situated in one of the valleys near where the mountains of central Wicklow rise.

Biographers believe that one of his reasons for moving to the New World was that he was miffed with William III for not rewarding him more generously for his contributions at Boyne.  The Dutch and German officers who participated in the Battle of the Boyne were apparently better rewarded.

In 1722 Captain Wayne moved to Pennsylvania with Dutch-born wife, Hannah Faulkner, eight of their nine children, and Wayne’s close friend and fellow veteran John Hunter.  It is speculated that Hannah was the daughter of one of the better-rewarded Dutch officers.  The ninth child, Isaac who stayed in England to finish his education, joined the family two years later.

The Wayne family moved to a 1,600 acre estate in Chester county in 1724.  The brick home called Waynesboro is now a designated historical site.  Captain Wayne died there in 1739.

Mad General Anthony Wayne.  General Anthony Wayne, the son of Isaac Wayne, was said to have had a fiery personality.  His wild abandon and passionate military exploits were the fuel that fired legends.

Living in Pennsylvania in 1776 when the Continental Army was formed. Wayne was able to raise a militia unit and became colonel of that regiment.  He aided Benedict Arnold in an unsuccessful invasion of Canada.  He was responsible for leading the distressed troops at Fort Ticonderoga.  George Washington appointed him to lead an attack on Stony Point, a lookout at the top of the Hudson river and Congress awarded him a medal over this momentous success.

Fort Wayne, Indiana was named for him and numerous locales, businesses and events commemorate his memory in Ohio and Indiana.

Wayne had gout and died in 1796 at the age of 51 from complications related to the disease.  When his son Isaac sent a one-horse sulky to Erie to bring his body back to the family home at Waynesboro, they were unable to fit the corpse into the little sulky.  The problem was solved by boiling the body off the bones.  The bones were saved to be returned to Pennsylvania for internment there.

Legend says that the bones were lost in route.  Every January 1st on his birthday, his ghost wanders the highway looking for his lost bones.

Richard Wayne of Savannah.  In 1759 Richard Wayne had emigrated from Yorkshire to Charleston where he became a successful merchant.  In the 1770’s he had been a partner in the retail firm of Wilson, Coram, Wayne and Company. During the siege of Charleston in 1780 he had served in the city garrison, but after the fall of the city he accepted a military commission from the British.

At the end of the war the state legislature placed him on the banishment and confiscation lists, but he was able to persuaded General Marion that he had acted as a spy inside the royal militia and relayed valued information to the American forces.

In 1789 he moved to Savannah and prospered as a merchant and a plantation owner at Wayne Mountside and Wayne Hill. He died in 1809.  During his lifetime he always claimed that he was “of the same stock” as General Anthony Wayne.

Pauline Wayne.  Pauline Wayne was a Holstein cow from Wisconsin that belonged to William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States.  She replaced an earlier cow that was not producing enough milk for Taft’s growing family.  From 1910 to 1913, Miss Wayne freely grazed the White House lawn and was the last presidential cow to live at the White House.  She was considered as much a Taft family pet as she was livestock.

However, in late 1914 Taft ordered her death by firing squad for desecrating Taft’s favorite Iris garden.

Bruce Wayne aka Batman.  Batman is the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire, industrialist, and philanthropist.

Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with a sense of justice. Wayne trained himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume to fight crime.

Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner Robin and his butler Alfred Pennyworth.   He fights a large assortment of villains.  Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers.

Wayne Names

  • Mad Anthony Wayne was a fiery General of the American forces during the Revolutionary War. 
  • John Wayne, born Marion Morrison, was the well-known American actor. 
  • Bruce Wayne was the alter ego of Batman in the Batman comics and films.

Wayne Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous in East Midlands)
  • 4,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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Written by Colin Shelley

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