Meadows Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
The surname Meadows is an English variant of the surname Meadow, which is an English topographic surname denoting a person who lived by a meadow in medieval times, from the Old English word maed or moedwe Middle English word mede, or Anglo-Saxon word meed, meaning meadow. A meadow is defined as a field habitat vegetated by grass and other non-woody plants. They are typically open and sunny areas, which attract flora and fauna (animals) that do not live well in other ecological conditions.
The 1874 book titled The Norman People makes an alternative claim about the meaning and origins of the Meadows surname, stating “The English form of De Pratis. Simon, Gilbert, Hugh, Fulco de Pratis, Normandy 1180- 95 (Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae); Henry and Richard de P. 1198 (Ib.); William de Pratis, Engl. 1189 (Rot. Pip.)”.
Some spelling variants and last names with similar etymologies include Medow, Medows, Meadow, Medowes, Medowe, Meadowes, Meddowes, Mewdewes, and Meaddows. The Meadows family motto is “Mea dos virtus”, which translated from Latin to English as virtue is my dower.
Early Bearers of the Meadows Surname
The first known bearers of this surname was Henry de la Medewe who was documented in Worcestershire, England in 1280 AD. Henry del Mudue was documented in Derbyshire, England in 1283 AD. Richard atte Medeue was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1327 AD. John atte Medow, Rector of Metton, Norfolk, England, was documented in 1439 AD. William att the Medow, Rector of East Beckham, Norfolk, England, was documented in 1439 AD.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Meadows ranks 721st in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following four states: West Virginia (36th), Virginia (231st), Alabama (288th), Tennessee (386th).
The surname Meadows frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (936th), Scotland (3,796th), Wales (989th), Ireland (16,046th) and Northern Ireland (5,388th). In England, it ranks highest in county Suffolk. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in Shetland. In Wales, it ranks highest in Monmouthshire and Gwynedd.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (3,339th), New Zealand (2,730th), Australia (2,144th), and South Africa (14,860th).
Meadows Family Tree & Meadows Genealogy
The earliest known ancestor or progenitor of this family was Edmund de Wyntesham. He was born in Witnesham, Suffolk, England c. 1090 AD. He had a son named Robert de Medew who was born in Witnesham Hall, Suffolk c. 1140 AD. He had a son named Peter de Mewed who was born in Suffolk c. 1188 AD. He had a son named Robert Meador who was born in Witnesham Hall, Suffolk c. 1216 AD. He had a son named Robert Earl de Meadwe who was born in Hakeston, Suffolk c. 1290 AD. He had a son named Geoffrey Meadwe who was born in Suffolk, England c. 1323 AD. He had a son named Geoffrey de Medewe II who was born in Suffolk c. 1400 AD. He married Margaret, daughter of Guy Fairfax and Isabel Ryther, and had four sons as follows:
1) William Meadows Sr. was born in Witnesham Hall, Suffolk c. 1447 AD.
2) John Medewe was born in Witnesham Hall, Suffolk c. 1454 AD.
3) Thomas de Medewe
4) Geoffrey Meadwe III was born in Suffolk c. 1452 AD. He had issue including a son named John. This son, John Meadwe, was born in Suffolk c. 1476 AD. He married Margaret and had issue as follows: John, Sir William Medowe, Richard, and Edward
Sir William Medowe Sr. was born c. 1504 in Witnesham Hall, Suffolk, England. He married Isabel and had children as follows: John, Anne, William Jr., Robert, and Thomas. William Meadowe Jr. was born in Suffolk in 1534. He married Agnes Margaret Roblet and had the following issue with her: William Jr., Margaret, John, Humphrey Need, Frances, Agnes, Mary, Susannah, Elizabeth, and Daniel. His son Daniel was born in Chattisham, Suffolk, England in 1577. He married Elizabeth Smith and had issue with her as follows: Ambrose, Reverend John, and Philip. His son, Ambrose Meador, was born in Avon, Wiltshire, England in 1583. He married twice: Elizabeth Wellstead and Frances Hicks. He went to colonial America and founded Accokeek Tobacco Plantation in Virginia. He had the following issue: Thomas “The Elder”, Ambrose Jr., John, and Thomas.
Sir Philip Meadows (1626–1718)
William Meadows was born in Suffolk, England in 1530. He married a woman named Agnes and had two sons: William and Daniel. Daniel Meadows was born in Rushmere, Suffolk, England in 1577. In 1616, he married Elizabeth Smith and had two sons with her: John and Philip. Each son is discussed below:
1) Reverend John Meadows was born in Chattisham, Suffolk, England in 1622. In 1675, he married Sarah Fairfax. He had a son named Philip. Philip was born in Norwich, Norfolk in 1679. He married Margaret Hall. He had a daughter named Sarah.
2) Sir Philip Meadows was born in Chatisham, Suffolk, England in 1625. In 1661, he married Constance Lucy. According to Wikitree.com, he was a “Knight Marshall of the King's Palace, Knight of the Order of the Elephant, of Denmark, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of Denmark, and Mediator between Sweden and Denmark, at the Treaty of Roschild, 26 February 1657-8; afterwards Ambassador to Sweden, and one of the first Commissioners of the establishment of the Board of Trade”. He had a son, also named Sir Philip, who was born around 1673. He married Dorothy Boscawen and had a son with her named Philip. This son, Philip Meadows, Esquire, was born in Vienna in 1708. In 1734, he married Frances Pierrepont and had a son with her named Charles. This son, Charles, became the 1st Earl of Manvers and assumed the surname Pierrepont. He was born in 1737. In 1774, he married Anne Orton Mills in Richmond, Surrey, England. He had two issue: Frances Augusta Eliza and Charles Herbert Pierrepont.
Thomas Meades, Meads, or Meador was born in England around 1612. He went to colonial America where he married in Virginia in around 1635. He had the following issue: Thomas, John, Mary, Margaret, Joyce, and Ann. His son, Thomas Meador, Meader, or Meadows, was born in Virginia prior to 1638. In 1658, he married Sarah Awbrey, and had three issue with her as follows: John, Susanna, and Mary. His son, John Meador, Meadows, or Meadors was born in Old Rappahannock, Virginia around 1658. He married twice and had the following issue: Richard, Thomas, Rachel, John, Elizabeth, Hope, Esther, Dinah, Jonas, Mary, Joshua, Jason Sr., and Job. His son, Thomas Meador, Meadows, or Meadors was born in the same county around 1680. In 1705, he married Elizabeth Wood and had the following issue with her: Ester, Sarah, Thomas Jr., Rachel, John, Frances, Reuben, Elizabeth, and Ambrose. His son Thomas Jr. was born in Essex, Virginia around 1711. He married Ann Bourne and had two sons with her: Benjamin Sr. and Francis M. Francis M. Meadows was born in Caroline County, Virginia in 1738. He was a soldier in the American Revolution. He married twice: Elizabeth Jennings Mangum and Mary Kesiah. He was the father of the following children: Francis Sr., Israel Green, Francis, Arris Preston, Lewis, James Madison, Jacob, Edmond, Mathias, Obediah, Elijah, Phillip, Susanna, William Salon, Mary, and John Frank. Nine of his aforementioned children are discussed below:
1) Francis Meadows was born in Essex, Virginia in 1752. In 1797, he married Frances Bush and had issue as follows: Melinda, Francis Jr., Fielding, Abraham, and Nathaniel
2) Israel Green Meadows was born in Virginia in 1755. In 1778, he married Barbara Ann Green and had issue as follows: Nancy, William Alexander Green, Elizabeth, Mary Polly, John, Jacob Burns, Sarah, Rebecca, and Nancy. He died in Kentucky in 1827.
3) Francis Meadows was born in 1758. He had a son named Philip.
4) Arris Preston Meadows was born in Greenbrier, Virginia in 1760. In 1793, he married Martha Byrnside and had issue with her as follows: James, Francis Wilson, Isabella, Mary, John, Sarah, Arris, Joseph, Hannah, Martha, Patterson, William, Elizabeth, Enoch, and Nancy Jane Patterson.
5) Lewis Meadows was born in Monroe, Amherst, Virginia in 1760. He married Ruth Ann and had a daughter with her named Anna Elizabeth.
6) James Madison Meadows Sr. was born in Orange County, Virginia in 1760. He married Catherine Boswell and had issue with her as follows: Ellen Eleanor, Nancy, and Thomas W.
7) Jacob Meadows was born in Orange County, Virginia in 1763. He married twice: Mary Arrington and a Cherokee Indian who assumed the name Sarah Berry. He was the father of the following children: Sarah, Jacob, Sarah, Adam H., Ephraim, Elizabeth Anna, Reacy, Luresa, Jordan, Jacob, Thomas, Mary Polly, Barbara, and Virginia Meador
8) Mathias (Matthew) Meadows was born around 1767 in Virginia. He had two daughter: Elizabeth and Cynthia.
9) Obediah Meador or Meadows was born in Augusta, Virginia in 1767. He had a son named James who was born in 1812.
1) Thomas Meadows married Elizabeth Harrison in Yarmouth, Norfolk, England in June 1627
2) Thomas Meadows married Mary Welsh in Bourne, Lincoln, England in May 1709
3) Phillip Meadows married Elizabeth Ingulden in Roxbury, Massachusetts in April 1641
4) Mary Meddowes married Samuell Davis in Salem, Massachusetts in 1665
5) Polly Meadows married William Clambery in Madison, Kentucky in 1806
6) John Meadows married Polly Cooper in Montgomery, Indiana in 1831
7) Sidney Meadows married Lydia Ann Harriford in Scott, Iowa in 1849
8) Charles M. Meadows married Annabella Munroe in Cedar County, Iowa in 1857
9) Adam Meadows married Sarah Dick in Giles, Virginia in April 1828
10) James Meadows married Rhoda Ingram in Pittsylvania in December 1830
11) Betsty Meadows married John Hays in Warren, Georgia in 1794
12) Susan R. Meadows married Thomas H. Murphy in Blaine, Idaho in 1884
Early American and New World Settlers
Some of the earliest settlers in colonial America bearing this name include:
1) Henry Meddowes, age 20, came to Virginia in 1635 aboard the Transport
2) Philip Meadows came to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1642
3) Stephen Meadows came to Virginia in 1674
4) Dorothy Meadows came to Virginia in 1689
5) Thomas Meadows came to Annapolis, Maryland in 1751
6) Elizabeth Meadows came to Annapolis, Maryland in 1758
7) Eleanor Meadows came to Virginia in 1770
Several thousand members of the Meadows family came to the United States through Ellis Island, during the nineteenth century, including:
1) Harriett Meadows came from England aboard the SS City of London in 1867
2) Ellen Meadows came from England aboard the City of Paris in 1866
3) Template Meadows came from Great Britain aboard the Atmosphere in 1864
4) Catherine Meadows came from Ireland aboard the Splendid in 1830
5) George Meadows came from England aboard the Grand Turk in 1832
6) Hugh Meadows came from England aboard the City of Antwerp in 1869
7) Richard Meadows came from England aboard the City of Baltimore in 1869
8) William Meadows came from Ireland aboard the Ann Maria in 1824
9) Harriet Meadows came from Nassau aboard the Cienfuegos in 1894
10) Joseph Meadows came from Canada aboard the State of Nebraska in 1886
11) Joseph Meadows came from Great Britain aboard the Isaac Webb in 1869
12) Edward Meadows came from Nottingham, England aboard the Majestic in 1906
Some of the earliest settlers in Canada bearing this name include:
1) John Meadows came to Nova Scotia in 1749
2) Thomas Meadows, a surgeon by trade, came in 1748
3) Andrew Meadows came to Ontario in 1871
4) Joseph Meadows came to Ontario in 1871
5) Thomas Meadows came to Ontario in 1871
Some of the earliest settlers in Australia and New Zealand bearing this name include:
1) Edward Meadows came to New South Wales in 1821 aboard the Prince of Orange
2) Ellen Meadows came to New South Wales in 1824 aboard the Brothers
3) Richard Meadows came to New South Wales in 1831 aboard the Portland
4) William Meadows came to New South Wales in 1831 aboard the Norfolk
5) William Meadows came from Worcestershire, England to Canterbury, New Zealand in 1875 aboard the Canterbury
6) Mary Meadows came to Hawkes Bay, New Zealand in 1874 aboard the Bebington
General Sir William Medows (1738-1813)
Grantees of Arms
1) James Meadows or Medows, D.D., quartering Brock, granted by Segar and Camden, crest, etc., 1600
2) Sir Philip Meadows, his lady was daughter and heir of…Lucy, 20 February 1662-3 by Walker
3) Medows to Pierrepont, of Thoresby Park, county Nottingham, 1788
4) Major General Sir William, K.B., 1792
5) Medows, late Norie, of Couholt Park, Chute, Wiltshire, England in 1864
There are hundreds of notable people with the Meadows surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include:
1) Audrey Meadows (1922-1996) was an American actress born in New York City who is best known for playing Alice Kramden in the famous 1950s American comedy TV show The Honeymooners
2) Abram Henson Meadows (1859-1932), also known as Charlie Meadows or Arizona Charlie, was a showman and sharpshooter, a contemporary of Buffalo Bill Cody, born in Visalia, California
3) Robert Meadows (1938) was a English professional footballer (soccer player) born in Melton Mowbray who plated from 1955 to 1996 for teams such as Stoke City, Northwich Victoria, and Doncaster Rovers
4) Matthew Brian Meadows (1975) was a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1998-2006 for five different teams (ex. Florida Marlins, Pittsburg Pirates), born in Montgomery, Alabama
5) Charles Medows (1737-1816) was an English naval officer who served in the Parliament for Nottinghamshire from 1778-1796 and was the 1st Earl Manvers
6) Clarence Watson Meadows (1904-1961) was the 22nd Governor of West Virginia from 1945-1949, born in Beckley
7) James Joseph Meadows (1835-1914) was a Protestant Christian missionary to China, born in Norfolk, England
8) Timothy Meadows (1961) is an American actor and comedian born in Highland Park, Michigan who appeared on Saturday Night Live for ten seasons, and also acted in movies such as Mean Girls, Coneheads, and Wayne’s World 2
9) Mark Randall Meadows (1959) served in the US House of Representatives from 2013-, born in Verdun, France in a US Army hospital
10) Sir Sidney Meadows (1699-1792) was a Member of the Parliament of Great Britain who served three times for Penryn, Truro, and Tavistock between 1722-1741
11) Sir Philip Meadows (d. 1719) who was an English official and diplomat who served as an ambassador to Oliver Cromwell
Sergeant Willie Meadows of the 6th North Carolina
Meadows America Civil War Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Meadows who served in the American Civil War, including the following:
1) Jordan Meadows of the 22nd Regiment Kentucky Infantry (Union)
2) William L. Meadows of the 1st Regiment Nebraska Cavalry (Union)
3) Benjamin J. Meadows of the 29th Regiment Iowa Infantry (Union)
4) Thomas Meadows of the 30th Regiment Massachusetts Infantry (Union)
5) Abraham Meadows of the 129th Regiment Illinois Infantry (Union)
6) Henry Meadows of the 1st Regiment Illinois Cavalry (Union)
7) Barstell S. Meadows of the 27th Regiment Kentucky Infantry (Union)
8) Asa Meadows of the 54th Regiment Georgia Infantry (Confederacy)
9) Joseph W. Meadows of the 64th Regiment Georgia Infantry (Confederacy)
10) Allen A. Meadows of the 30th Battalion Virginia Sharpshooters (Confederacy)
11) Fleming Meadows of the 59th Regiment Virginia Infantry (Confederacy)
12) J. Clark Meadows of the 5th Regiment Missouri Infantry (Confederacy)
13) Albert M. Meadows of the 61st Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Confederacy)
14) Dan Meadows of the 2nd Regiment Texas Cavalry (Confederacy)
Meadows America Revolution Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Meadows who served in the Revolutionary War, including the following:
1) Private James Meadows of Virginia, Continental Troops
2) Private David Meadows of Maryland
3) Private Francis Meadows of Virginia, 6th Regiment
4) Private Jacob Meadows of South Carolina
5) Private William Meadows of Pennsylvania
6) Leroy Meadow of Virginia, 7th Regiment
7) Vincent Meadow of Virginia
8) Private John Meadow of Virginia, 7th Regiment