Withers (surname)

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Withers Arms and Crest
Language(s) Old English
Region of origin England
Meaning "Son of Withar (Víðarr)", for proper earlier form
Other names
Variant(s) Wither, Wyther, Withars, Wider, Wythe

Withers — earlier Wither, Wyther — is an English surname of Anglo-Saxon origin. It is today a not uncommon family name throughout the Anglosphere.


The name appears on various early documents in England, such as a charter of Æthelred II in 1005 where a witness signs as "Ego Wiþer minister" (I Wither, the assistant). In the Domesday Book of 1086 it is the name of a tenant prior to that date. It seems to be a personal name, rather than a place name or occupational name, of unknown meaning: suggestions have included "wood", "withstand", "warrior" or "willow".

While the name occurs in connection with landholdings in various counties of England before the 1150s, the first continuous record of a family seems to be in Lancashire and Cheshire where Sir Robert Wither, knight, of Pendleton and of Halton, was seneschal to Roger de Lacy, who died in 1211. He is recorded as marrying Joan, daughter of Sir Adam Bostock, knight, of Davenham.

By the 15th century, families claiming descent from Sir Robert Wither were living in Cheshire, Lancashire, Wiltshire, Essex, London, Somerset and Hampshire. The Withers in Hampshire, deriving from a member who migrated from Lancashire in the 14th century, were particularly prominent. From 1484, they were lords of the manor of Manydown near Wootton St Lawrence, remaining linked to that estate for more than 400 years.[1]

Coat of arms[edit]

A Withers family coat of arms was granted in the reign of Queen Mary I (1553–1558 C.E.) to Sir Richard Withers of East Sheen (ancestor of the poet George Wither) and registered in the College of Arms, London.[2] The blazon has “Argent, a chevron gules between three crescents sable” (i.e., White/silver field, red chevron between 3 black crescents).[3] The traditional family motto is "I grow and wither both together".

Notable people named Withers, Wither, or Wyther[edit]



Artists and architects[edit]






Fictional characters[edit]



  1. ^ Kitchin, G.W. (1895), The Manor of Manydown, Hampshire, London: Simkin & Co., Ltd, Stationers' Hall Court; Winchester: Warren & Son, High Street.
  2. ^ Crozier, William Armstrong, Editor (1908), Virginia Heraldira, Being a Registry of Virginia Gentry Entitled to Coat Amor, Reprinted Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1965, pp 62-63..
  3. ^ Newton, William (1846), A Display of Heraldry, London: William Pickering, pg 230.

Other sources[edit]

See also[edit]