Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Melhuish Name
Origins of Melhuish:
This unique and interesting name is of old English origins. It is locational from a now lost old hamlet in the division of Devonshire called in the 13th century “Melehewis.” The origin is from the Olde English pre 7th-century words “maele,” which means brilliantly colored, and “hiwisc,” which means a hide of land. A hide was an area considered suitably large for a family of four to live on, or the area that could be ploughed by one in one year, while “brightly colored” in this sense may have a given meaning of “good land.” The village was noted in the record of Hundred Rolls along with Chagkford, Churiton, Eghbeare, and Foleford. Locational surnames usually advanced when old residents of a place shifted to another area, often to the search of work, and best recognized by the name of their birthplace. Spelling being at best erratic and local languages very thick, soon lead to the advancement of “sounds like” spellings.
More common variations are: Mellhuish, Meluish, Melhush, Melluish, Mulhuish, Melhaish, Milhuish, Melhiush, Melhwish, Melish.
The surname Melhuish first appeared in Devon where they held a family seat from old times as Kings of the Manor of Melhuish in the shire. Some say, well before the Norman Invasion of England in 1066 AD. The original name of the hamlet was Melewis.
The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of Elinora de Melhywys, dated about the year 1273, in the “Hundred Rolls,” Devonshire. It was during the time of King Edward I, dated 1272 – 1307. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling variations of the original one.
Many of the people with surname Melhuish had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Melhuish landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th and 19th. Some of the people with the name Melhuish who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included Agnes Melhuish, a convict servant sent to Virginia in 1719.William Melhuish, who came to America in 1740.
The following century saw more Melhuish surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Melhuish who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Mary Melhuish, who came to Philadelphia in 1819.John Melhuish who naturalized in Michigan in the year 1872.
Some of the individuals with the surname Melhuish who landed in Australia in the 19th century included John Melhuish arrived in South Australia in the year 1854 aboard the ship “John Bunyan.”
Here is the population distribution of the last name Melhuish: England 1,210; Australia 316; Wales 237; United States 226; South Africa 219; Canada 151; New Zealand 137; Scotland 112; Spain 11; Philippines 3.
Christopher Melhuish (January 1955) was an English cricket player.
John Melhuish was an English merchant and political leader.
Melhuish Coat of Arms Meaning
The two main devices (symbols) in the Melhuish blazon are the fleur-de-lis and marlet. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. . The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul” and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms
The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. . Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” . Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.