Webb Surname Genealogy

Weaving as an occupation has generated a number of
surnames: Webb, Webster, Webber, and Weaver. The root is the Old
English webba, meaning “to weave.”
The poem Piers
has the following line: “My wife was a webbe and woollen
There was a definite south/north divide in the incidence of Webbs and
Websters, rather than a male/female divide as the original Anglo-Saxon
suggest (webbestre meaning a female weaver). Webbs were mainly
to be
found in the south, Websters in the north and Scotland. Webbers and
Weavers were
much more geographic specific, Webbers in the southwest and Weavers in
Cheshire. Webbe was probably the early spelling. But it gradually became

Webb Resources on

Webb Ancestry

Webbs seem to have come from the west country.

SW England. The byname
Alger se Webba
appeared in Devon around the year 1100.
Webb family from Dorset was to be found in the vicinity of
Warwickshire by the mid-14th century.
They made their home at Bearley, a small village north of
Stratford, and
became prominent in court circles during Tudor times.
Mary Webb was William Shakespeare’s
grandmother. Richard Webb emigrated to
America in 1626.

Early Webbs
were to be found in
in Gloucestershire,
where they were prominent in the cloth industry, and on the
Gloucestershire borders with Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.
Humphrey Webb, forebear of American emigrants, came from the
Oxfordshire side. One family history started with William
Webb leaving his native Oxfordshire in 1770 to work in a papermill in
Redditch, Warwickshire.

There was a Webb family in Draycott, Wiltshire in the late 14th
century and possibly earlier. Alice
Webb, the last of this line, married William Richmond in 1430 and their
became known as the Richmond Webbs. Edmund
Richmond Webb was “Webb the duelist” after he killed Sir
Eastcourt in a duel in 1684. His son
John also dueled, but married into money and built Biddesden House at
Ludgershall in Wiltshire in the 1720’s.

There were also Webbs in the towns of
Salisbury and Devizes. William Webbe,
parentage is uncertain, was by the late 1400’s one of the richest
merchants of

may have started his business in Southampton which was an
important outlet for the Wiltshire cloth trade.
He built Church House on Crane Street there.
Poole was probably another port through which
Webbe exported his goods as both his son and grandson did so, while his
married a merchant of the town.”

Benjamin Webb, a 17th century clothier in
Devizes, was known as Benjamin the
. A relative of his, Philip
Webb, went to
London, prospered as a lawyer, and secured in 1763 through marriage a
estate in Surrey, Milford House.
Another Webb line in Wiltshire, found at Oldstock, were noted for their
adherence to Catholicism.

SE England. Kent
had early Webbs
in the southeast. The Webbs at
Frittenden may have come from Stratford.
But the Webbes at Sandwich and Canterbury were probably
home-grown. Bennet Webbe was mayor of
Sandwich in
1488. George Webbe, probably a nephew, was
a corn merchant in Canterbury. John

was burnt at the stake in Canterbury in 1555 because of his Protestant
faith. London by that time had many Webbes,
including the adventurer Edward Webbe who voyaged to the Levant and
later recounted his escapades.

The 19th century distribution of
the Webb name showed two groupings, one in and around London and
including Kent
and Essex and a second in the west country, extending north from
Wiltshire through Gloucestershire and Warwickshire into Staffordshire.

Ireland. George Webb, from the
Catholic Webbs of Oldstock, was chaplain to
Charles I and appointed Bishop of Limerick.
However, during the Irish uprising of 1641, Webb was imprisoned
rebels and died of jail fever.

Webbs in Ireland arrived at the time of Cromwell or later.
William Webb, an engineer in Cromwell’s army,
obtained land at Ballymote in Sligo.
Captain Daniel Webb established himself at Maidstown castle in
Limerick. Webbs
were also to be found in Antrim, Dublin, Tipperary, and elsewhere.

America. Richard Webb
came to Boston in 1632 and later moved with the Rev. Hooker to found
the new town of Hartford, Connecticut. From his line came:

  • Samuel B. Webb, a General in the Revolutionary War. He was
    aide-de-camp to Washington and wounded in three battles.
  • his son James
    Watson Webb
    , a newspaper publisher who later became a
  • and his sons William and Walter who became railroad magnates and,
    with their connections to the Vanderbilts, one of the illustrious
    families of the Gilded Age. William’s son James was an American
    polo champion. The family legacy is their Vermont home,
    now the Shelburne Museum.

Webb, who arrived with his father in 1645, was the Town Clerk in
Braintree, Massachusetts. His family had early associations
with the Adams family. Two Webbs from Salem were sea captains in
the 1670's, John Webb and Daniel Webb.

first recorded voyages by Webbs were in fishing ketches with small
crews. By the time of the American Revolution private brigantines
commanded by Webb sea captains captured English ships and sold the
cargo and ships as prizes."

Captain William
mada a name for himself in the War of 1812. The
Webb seafaring prowess continued well into the 19th century.

Virginia. Giles
Webb from the Stratford Webbs was an early arrival in Virginia,
getting there with his father on the Thomas
in 1629. His descendants ended up in Carroll
county. A Merry Webb family line began with the birth of Merry
in Henrico county in 1697. John Webb, born in Pitsylvania county
in 1725, had descendants who settled in North Carolina, Tennessee, and

and New Zealand. Two Webbs, Robert and Thomas, served as able
on the First Fleet to Australia in 1788 and their brother James was to
them on the Scarborough two years later.
Robert was one of the first settlers to be
granted land. He died, however, in
1800. James
was an early settler in an area that became known as

Edmund Webb, the son of a Cornish farmer, came to Australia for
health in 1847. He settled in Bathurst, NSW. Staring as a
assistant, he became one of the town’s leading businessmen and a
prominent local politician.
He built his home Hathrop on
Vale Creek in the 1860’s.

Stirrup Webb, the son of a Methodist minister in Staffordshire, was one
of the
first settlers to come to the northern Wairoa region of New Zealand. He arrived there, a middle-aged man with wife
and seven children, in 1863. He acted for
many years as the region’s JP. His
grandson Clifton Webb played rugby for New Zealand and went on to be an
Cabinet Minister, diplomat, and UN delegate.

Webb Miscellany

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

Webb Names

John Webbe was a Protestant martyr, burnt at the stake in Canterbury in

William H. Webb
was a 19th century American railroad magnate and one of the
adornments of the Gilded Age.

Captain Matthew Webb
was the first recorded
person to swim the English Channel in 1875. However,
eight years later he died in an attempt to swim the Niagara rapids.
Sidney and Beatrice Webb
early members of the Fabian Society and
co-founders of the London School of Economics in 1895.
Harry Webb was the
given name of the singer who became Cliff Richard.

Select Webbs Today

  • 70,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Essex)
  • 62,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 33,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply