Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Webb Name
Webb Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This is a primarily English and Scottish last name that was an occupational surname meaning “the webbe”, i.e. “the weaver”, deriving from the Middle English word webbe and Anglo-Saxon or Old English word webba. This occupation involved spinning or weaving cloth, an important job during medieval times and the Middles Ages throughout Europe and Christendom. It is thought the name came to England during and after the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD. The family first held land and titles in Wiltshire. In some cases, it is also an Americanized spelling of several Jewish names (ex. Weber and Weberman).
Some spelling variants or names include Web and Webbe. Names with similar etymologies include Webber, Webster, and Weaver.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Webb ranks 137th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following nine states: Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Delaware, and West Virginia.
The surname Webb frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (87th), Scotland (402nd), Wales (101st), Ireland (849th) and Northern Ireland (321st). In England, it ranks highest in counties Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire. In Scotland, the surname Webb ranks highest in Peebleshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Monmouthshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Dublin. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in Armagh.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (350th), New Zealand (165th), Australia (89th), and South Africa (533rd).
The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “This name is confined south of a line drawn from the Wash to the Dee. It is most numerous in Somerset and Wilts, in the west of England; but is also well represented in Suffolk in the east of England and in Northamptonshire in the midlands”.
Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest known bearer of this surname was Alger de Webba who was recorded in the Olde English Byname Register around 1100 AD. Osbert Webbe was documented in Suffolk in the Pipe Rolls on 1221 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists two bearers of this surname: Adam le Webbe (Essex) and Elyas le Webbe (Buckinghamshire). Alice la Webbe was listed in the rolls of the borough of Colchester, England in 1327 AD. Roger le Webbe was documented in the Calendarium Inquisitionum Post Mortem. Simon le Webbe was documented in the Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis. Robert le Webbe was listed in county Somerset in a 1327 AD Tax Roll. The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists one bearer of this last name: Johanne Wybbe. Nicholas Webbe of Chester was recorded in the Wills at Chester in 1603 AD, as was one William Webb. Early baptisms involving this name include a) Mary Webb, daughter of George, at St. Mary Woolnoth in London in 1550 and B) Mary Webbe at St. Benet Fink in London in 1566 AD.
Webb Family Tree & Webb Genealogy
Webb of The Berrow
The lineage of this branch of the Webb family tree begins with John Knight of county Oxford, England, who was the father of George Knight, who was an Esquire and Mayor of Bristol in 1639. George married Ann, daughter of William Dyos, age had issue with her, including a son named Sir John Knight. Several generations later came Anne Knight, eldest daughter and co-heir of Reverend Thomas Knight of Joyfields, who was born in 1748. In 1772, she married Thomas Webb of Berrow, county Worcester, Banker, and with him had two issue: Thomas and Anna (married John Merrott Stephens, Deputy-Governor of St. Lucia). She died in 1795. Her son was Thomas Webb, Esquire of Ledbury, county Hereford, who was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant who was born in 1775. In 1809, he married Anne, daughter of John Thackwell of Rye Court, and had numerous issue with her: Thomas, William Henry (Captain in the Royal Navy), Joseph (of Cobham, married Grace Anne Godsal), Edward John (of Lebury), Charles Knight (Surgeon in the Indian Army), Anne (Miles Astman Wood), Emma (married John William Yerbury), Caroline (married Francis Charles Skurray), and Susan. His son was also named Thomas. This Thomas Webb was an Esquire of The Berrow, county Worcester, England, who was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and Captain of the 90th Reigement and Colonel of the Worcestershire Militia who was born in 1812. In 1847, he married Anne Elizabeth, child of Reverend Bulkeley Williams of Bemaris, and fathered two children with her: Thomas Bulkeley Knight (4th Foot) and Anne Elizabeth Panton. The Webb Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Webb Family Tree by some) has the following heraldic blazon: Azure, a cross flory or between the 1st and 4th quarters an eagle displayed and in the 2nd and 3rd a maunch argent. Crest: The battlements of a tower argent, thereon a demi-eagle displayed azure winger vair in the wings a spur gold. Motto: Be firm.
Webb of Donnington Hall
The Webb genealogy begins with Francis Webb, Esquire of Beerham and Burghold, county Berkshire, whose birth surname was Loder. In 1758, he married his first cousin, Anne, daughter of William Webb, and assumed the surname of Webb. He died in 1806 and was succeeded by his only child, Richard Webb, and Esquire of Donnington Hall who was born in 1795. In 1816, he married Frances, third daughter of John George Hannington, and had issue with her: Richard Frederick, Edward Henry (Lieutenant 88th regiment Connaught Rangers, fought in Crimean War), Frances Anne (married Reverend Watson Joseph Thornton, Rector of Llanwarne), Elizabeth Emily (married William Partridge), Marian, Henrietta, Harriet (married Thomas Evans of Moreton), and Ellen Gertrude (married Reverend John Rice Byrne). He died in 1871 and was succeeded by his eldest son, now of Donnington. His son Richard Frederick Webb, Esquire of Donnington was born in December of 1831 and he was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. He was a Major of the Herefordshire Militia, as well as a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant. In 1857, he married Isabella Catherine Wykeham Fieness, daughter of Frederick, 13th Lord Saye and Sele, and fathered four children with her: Algernon Edward, Maxwell Frederick, Florence Isabel, and Ethel Kathleen. The Webb Coat of Arms (sometimes mistakenly called the Webb Family Shield) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Azure, on a chief gules three mullets or. Crest: A stag lodged.
Webb of Newstead Abbey and Cowton
The lineage of this branch of the Webb family tree begins with Frederick Webb, Esquire of Westwick, county Durham, who married Mary, daughter of A. Sheil, and had four issue with her: William Frederick, Augustus Frederick Cavendish (Captan of the 17th Lancees, died at Scutari during the Crimean War), Katharine Mary (married Colonel John Roger Palmer), and Cecilia Charlotte (married William Wyndham Codrington of Wroughton, Wiltshire, England). Her died in 1846. His son William Frederick Webb, Esquire of Newstead Abbey, county Nottingham and of Cawton, county York, was born in March 1829 and he came a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and Lieutenant 17th Lancers. In 1857, he married Emilia Jane, daughter of Thomas Mills Goodlake of Wadley, and had six issue with her as follows: Algernon Frederick, Roderick Beauclerk, Augusta Zelia, Geraldine Katharine, Ethel Mary, and Mabel Ceclia. This family was seated at Newstead Abbey, Notts, and Cowtown, Northallerton, North Riding, county York, England.
Webb of Woodville
The Webb genealogy of this line begins with a family that migrated to Limerick, Ireland at the end of the 1500s AD or at the beginning of the 1600s AD, from Gloucester, England. Daniel Webb was an Esquire od Maidstown Castle, Limerick, who married Dorothea, daughter and heir of M. Leake, Esquire of Castle Leake in Tipperary, and had five issue with her: Daniel (married Jane Lloyd and later Elizabeth Creed), Thomas (Dean of Kilmore), Richard (member of Royal Navy), James, and Frances (married Richard Burke). Charles Daniel Henry Webb, Esquire of Woodville, county Tipperary, was born in 1825 and came a Justice of the Peace. In March of 1856, he married Elizabeth Lucy, daughter of Reverend M. Lloyd Apjohn, of Linfield, county Limerick, Rector of Ballybrood, and had four children with her: Daniel James Napier (Lieutenant 88th Connaught Rangers), Michael Marshall Charles, Charles Caleb, and John William Monck (Midshipman in the Royal Navy on a ship named “The Iron Duke”). His son James Webb was an Esquire and Major in the army, who in 1779, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Oglander, Baronet of Nunwell, Isle of Wight, and had a son with her. This son was named Daniel James Webb, Esquire of Maidstone Castle, county Limerrick and of Woodville, county Tipperary, Ireland, who was born in 1780. He was a Justice of the Peace, and in 1812, he married Ann Wilhelmina, daughter of Charles Stanley, and had three children with her: James Napier (of Knocktoran, Justice of the Peace, married Anne Kelly and later Anna Thomasina Dubbins), Charles Daniel Henry, and Elizabeth Anne. The Webb Arms (mistakenly called the Webb Family Crest) is blazoned in the European art of heraldry as follows: Erminois, a cross couped sable, charged with a mullet argent on a chief gules a heron between two crosses-crosslet fitchee of the third. Crest: A demi-eagle displayed gules wings ermnois in the beak of the cross crosslet fitchee or. Motto: Quid profest. They were seated at Woodville, Templemore, county Tipperary, Ireland.
Other Webb Pedigree & Family Trees
Elyas de Richmond Webb, son of Anna de Richmond (who was born in 1292 AD) was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, England in 1327 AD. He married Elizabeth, Countess of Ulster, and had a son with her named Sir Henry. Henry Webb was born in Stratford, Warwickshire, England in 1350 AD. He married Dau Cloward and had two sons with her: Geofrey and Thomas. His son Geofrey was born in Stratford, Warwickshire in 1372 AD and he married a woman named Julian, having a daughter named Alice and a son named John. John was born in Straford in 1405. The following is a pedigree from him:
William Webb (born in Stratford, England in 1425 AD)
John Alexander Webb (born in Stratford, England in 1450 AD)
Sir John Alexander Webb Jr. (born in Stratford, Warwickshire, England in 1484 AD)
Sir John Henry William I (Stratford, 1510 AD)
Alexander Webb Sr. (born in Birmingham, England in 1534 AD)
Sir Alexander Webb II (born in Stratford in 1559 AD).
Sir Alexander II came to colonial America. He died in 1629 in Boston, Massachusetts. He married Mary Wilson (while in England) and had the following issue: Richard, Elizabeth (Sanford), William Micajah, John, Christopher Sr., and Henry. His son Richard was born in Norwich, Dorset, England in 1580 and came to America with his father. He married Elizabeth Gregory and Grace Wilson. He had a son named John. This John Webb was born in 1615 in England and he married Anna Bassett in 1647 in Hartford, Connecticut. He had two issue: John and Sarah Price. His John who was born in Boston, MA in 1642 and married Susannah Cunliffe, who had three issue: John, Anna (Waite), and Jonathan. His son John was born around 1690 and he married Priscilla Bray, having two issue: Stephen and Mary. His son Stephen was born in 1721 and he married Mary Tyler, Mary Bears, and Elizabeth Best. He had a son who was also named Stephen. This Stephen Webb was born in 1769 in Salem, Massachusetts.
Early American and New World Settlers
Goodman Webb was recorded as living in Virginia in February 1623.
Stephen Webb was recorded as living in Virginia in February 1623. He was under the Muster of Captain Roger Smith who came at the age of 25.
Thomas Webb, age 18, came to the Barbados aboard the Faulcon of London in April 1635.
Katherin Webb, age 22, came to the Island of Providence (island off the coat of Nicaragua) aboard the Expectacion in April 1635.
Thomas Webb, age 18, came to Virginia aboard the Paule of London in July 1635.
Edward Webb, age 17, came to St. Christopher’s aboard the Amitic in October 1635.
Thomas Webb, age 22, came to the Barbados aboard the Falcon in December 1635.
Anthony Webb of Lanceston, age 20 years old, came to St. Christopher’s aboard the Robert Bonaventure in 1634.
James Webb was on a list of convicted rebels (Monmouth’s Rebellion of 1685) and was sent to the New World toward the end of the seventeenth century.
Samuel Webb, who owned one slave, was recorded as a land owner in the Barbados in 1679.
Edward Webb was buried in the parish of St. James in the Barbados in June of 1679.
Other early settlers in colonial America bearing this surname include Christopher Webb (Braintree, Massachusetts 1628), Richard Webb (Boston MA, with wife Elizabeth), Arthur Webb (Maryland 1637), Humphry Webb (Virginia 1719), and Isaac Webb (New England 1731).
In Canada, one of the first settlers bearing this last name was William Webb, a fisherman, who came to Petty Harbour, Newfoundland in 1735. In Australia, Jeremiah Webb, a convict from Cambridge, England who came aboard the Abrab in 1822, arriving in Van Diemen’s Land (present day Tasmania). In New Zealand, some of the first settlers bearing this name came to the city of Wellington in 1840 aboard the Cuba: Charles Frederick, George, William H., and Charles (a bricklayer by trade).
Early Americans Bearing the Webb Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains one entry for this surname:
1) Gules a cross engrailed and couped between 4 falcons or. Crest: an eagle rising from a ducal coronet or. Motto: Principia non homines. Bookplate I. Watson Webb, editor, Conn.
2) Gules a cross humettée engrailed or between 4 falcons jessed and belled or. Crest: a demi-eagle displayed issuing from a ducal coronet. Bookplate W. B. Webb, Washington.
Crozier’s General Armory (1904) contains three entries for this name:
1) Richard Webb of Boston, Massachusetts, 1632, from Gloucestershire. Or, a cross quarterly, counterchanged gules and sable. Crest: A hind’s head erased proper vulned in the neck gules.
2) Webb of New Kent, Virginia. Gules, a cross between four falcons or. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi-eagle rising gules.
3) Mrs. William H. Webb, of Rochester, New York. For Arms see Andrew Ward of Fairfield, Connecticut (Azure, a cross between four eagles displayed argent)
Matthew’s American Armoury (1907) and Bluebook contains one entry for this name:
1) William Seward Webb of Sherlburne Farms, Vermont, who was born in New York City in January of 1851. He was educated at Columbia and was a member of the Vermont legislature. In 1881, he married Lila O. daughter of William H. and Luisa (Kissam) Vanderbilt, with whom he had four issue: James Watson (1884), William Seward (1887), Vanderbilt (1891), and Frederica Vanderbilt. Gules, a cross engrailed humettee between our falcons or. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet a demi-eagle displayed or. He was the son of James W. Webb and Laura V. Cram, and grandson of General Samuel B. Webb who was a Lieutenant-Colonel on the Staff of General George Washington during the American Revolution. He descended from Richard and Elizabeth Webb from Gloucestershire, England.
I have identified nine Webb family mottoes:
1) Be firm
2) Victoria a Domino (Lord’s Victory)
3) Quid prodest? (What does it profit?)
4) Corona mea Christus (Christ is my crown)
5) In alta tende (Aim at things on high)
6) Nil conscire sibi (To have a conscience free from guilt)
7) Non nobis nascimur (We are not borne for ourselves)
8) Robore (By strength)
9) Virescit vulnere virtus (Her virtue flourishes by her wound)
10) Pricipia non homines (Principles not men)
We have 27 coats of arms for the Webb surname depicted here. These 27 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore an Webb Coat of Arms (or mistakenly called the Family Crest)
1) Benjamin Webb of Bucklebury, Berkshire, 1766
2) Webb, late Saunders, James, of county Dorset, and London, 1797
3) John Webb of county Dorset and London, 1797
4) Frederick Webb of Dorset and London, 1797
5) of Bath, county Somerset, 1803
6) Webb, before Edge, of county Nottingham, 1803
7) Webb to Cranmer, Ann, of county Essex, 1812
8) Daniel Webb of Garnstone, county Hereford, 1845
9) Webb-Peploe, Daniel, 1845
10) Webb-Peploe, John Burch, Vicar of Weobley, county Hereford, 1866.
11) Captain, Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, of The Berrow, county Worcester, and Ledbury, county Hereford, 1861
12) Webb of The Hough, Castle Church and Haselour, county Stafford, and hos Horton, his wife, 1861
13) Captain Charles Boyer Webb, son of Colonel Charles John, of Elford House, Tamworth, county Stafford
14) Webbe before Weston, of Sarnsfield Court, county Hereford, Quarterly Arms, 1782
15) Webbe to Francklyn, of county Kent and Oxford, 1851
There are hundreds of notable people with the Webb surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Alexander Stewart Webb (1835-1911) who was a Union General in the American Civil War who was born in New York City and received a Medal of Honor for his gallantry displayed at the Battle of Gettysburg, 2) Charles Henry Webb (1834-1905) who was an American poet, author, and journalist born in Rouse’s Point, New York who was known for his parodies and humorous works, 3) Chloe Webb (1956) who was an American actress born in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York who was best known for her roles in films such as Sid and Nancy, Twins, and Heart Condition, 4) George Alfred John Webb (1861-1949) who was an English painter who had a career in Australia painting portraits of Victoria and South Australian public figures, 5) George Robert Webb (1886-1958) who was a Member of the Canadian House of Commons in the 1940s for Leeds, 6) James Henry Webb Jr. (1946) who is a former United States Senator from Virginia from 2007-2013 and former Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration, 7) Karrie Ann Webb (1974) who is Australias most prominent female professional golfer who was born in Ayr, Queensland and who has 41 wins on the LPGA Tour, 8) General John Richmond Webb (1667-1724) who was a British General and Member of Parliament, 9) William Charles Webb (1880-1960) who was a New Zealand who from Lyttleton who won the professional World Sculling Championship, and 10) Anthony Jerome “Spud” Webb (1963) who was an American basketball point guard in the NBA who was born in Dallas, Texas and several different teams between 1985-1998, considered one of the shortest players in NBA history.