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Family spelling variants includes Tewdwr, Tudur

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TUDOR Family History

This is a surname which has strong Welsh roots. It became particularly famous when the House of Tudor was established after Henry VII (1457–1509), a member of the Tudor family of Penmynydd, Anglesey, became the King of England.

The name itself derives from the Greek Theodoros ('theos' meaning god, and 'doron' meaning gift), and appears in a range of different forms across Europe, including Theodore, Teodori and Teodoro.

The original Welsh spelling and pronounciation was 'Tewdwr' and 'Tudur', and was a personal name. As a patronymic surname therefore it would relate back to an ancestor with that given name. In Wales fixed hereditary surnames only gradually became apparent between the 16th and 19th centuries, depending on where in the country a family lived and on their social status. Higher status families would have adopted hereditary surnames earlier than the remainder of the population.

The earliest references in Wales to the name therefore appear as a personal name and as 'ap Tewdwr', or 'ap Tudur' (or other associated spellings), meaning 'son of Tudor'. Those early examples come from the Brut y Tywysogion (Chronicle of the Welsh Princes) and include Dyfynwal mab Tewdwr (Dyfynwal the son of Tudor), 760 A.D., and Tewdwr mab Einawn (Tudor the son of Einon), 993 A.D.

Hereditary surnames such as Tudor began to gain popularity amongst the landed gentry in Wales when Henry VII ascended to the English throne.

While the surname has been recorded throughout Wales, it was relatively more popular in the north of the country. In England, during the mid-19th century the surname was mostly evident in the counties that border Wales, including Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, while there were also some significant clusters elsewhere, including in Staffordshire and London.

Notable people

  • Rhys ap Tewdwr (Rhys the son of Tudor), (1040–1093), the King of Deheubarth (south west Wales), who was a member of the powerful Dinefwr dynasty and was descended from the Welsh king, Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri the Great).
  • Edward Tudor-Pole (b. 1955), English musician, presenter and actor, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Tenpole Tudor and as the presenter of The Crystal Maze. Descendants of Owen Tudor who was the grandfather of Henry VII.
  • William Tudor (1779–1839), a prominent Bostonian who cofounded the North American Review.



1851 census

Dictionary of Welsh Biography, National Library of Wales,

A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (1896) by Charles Wareing Endell

BardsleySurnames of the United Kingdom (1912) by Henry Harrison

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