Bringing your Family History to life every month APRIL 2012
  • Contact Us

Surname Detail

Add a New Surname | Register with Surname: Webb



From FHM issue 156:

What's in a name?: Webb

The surname Webb is England and Wales’s 79th most popular surname. This isn’t surprising as it was an occupational surname for a weaver and without weavers our ancestors wouldn’t have had clothes. Weaving required skill and also fairly complicated equipment, in the form of looms, and these were passed down in families for generations – in fact, this is how we derive the term ‘heirloom’.

          The name has historically been spelled in several different ways – we can find recorded a ‘se Webba’ in about 1100, a ‘Webbe’ in 1221 and a ‘le Webbes’ in 1337, among others. This is partly because the Old English word had masculine and feminine endings – webbe for female weavers and webba for men.

          Interesting Webbes include Edward Webbe, a master gunner and adventurer, who started his career as a servant to an Englishman in Moscow. Moscow was burned to the ground by the Crim Tartars in 1571, Edward was enslaved, and he became a master gunner for the Turks at Tunis, before being ransomed and brought back to Europe, where he performed the same task, for a respectable salary, for Henri IV of France.

          The arms shown here are those of the Webbs of Oldstock, Wiltshire. They are blazoned Gules, a cross between four falcons Or, with the crest A demi eagle displayed, issuing out of a ducal coronet Or. Similar arms are encountered in Webb families elsewhere in Dorset (at Motcombe, for example), suggesting interrelationships.

The Webbs of Oldstock were noted for their adherence to Catholicism throughout the penal times. It is possible that their arms denote a degree of piety in earlier times too, for the cross is said to denote a Crusader, and the falcons may also have been chosen for their association with the Holy Land too.

Add a New Surname | Register with Surname: Webb

You need to Get the latest version of Adobe Flash to view this.


Subscribe to our
email newsletter:


Win British Newspaper Archive Subscriptions

Discover the genealogical goldmine that is the British Newspaper Archive ( with an online subscription. This recently launched digitisation project has four million pages of searchable family notices, advertisements, obituaries, letters and illustrations from over 200 historic local and national newspapers.

We have a one-year subscription (worth £79.95) to give away as well as two 30-day subscriptions (worth £29.95 each) and four 2-day subscriptions (worth £6.95 each). To be in with a chance of winning one, simply answer the following question. Send answers to or write to the usual address on page three, by the 15th March.

Q: Who invented the printing press in the Holy Roman Empire in 1440?