The Winwood Family

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The surname Winwood is a place name that translates to "one who comes from, or one who lives near Wine's wood". The actual place no longer exists; a lot of these villages disappeared during the Middle Ages either due to the Black Death or land enclosures; but I have located its site. It is in the heart of the Wyre Forest near the Shropshire-Worcestershire county border about 2 miles west of Bewdley. Click here for a map. Alternatively, as "whin" means "gorse" (a spiny yellow-flowered shrub) in Old English, the word may mean "one who lives near a wood where gorse is growing"; the area near the Wyre Forest is still the probably site, with this interpretation.

The earliest record of the name is a Lewis Wynwood who married Ann Wingfield, daughter of Sir Anthony Wingfield, in 1512. ("Wynwood" is a misspelling of Winwood.) Their grandson Sir Ralph Winwood (1561-1617) was Secretary of State to King James I. He owned a country estate at Ditton Park near Slough, complete with a moated manor house and deer park, and had his own coat of arms and crest. There is an oil painting of Sir Ralph by Michiel Jansz Miereveld on display at Palace House, Beaulieu, home of Lord Montagu. There is a monument to Sir Ralph's son Richard Winwood (1608-1688) in the parish church at Quainton in Buckinghamshire. Richard was the last of the senior line of the Winwoods; he died childless. Following the death of his wife Ann in 1693, all of the Winwoods' stately houses, Ditton Park, Denham Lodge and Winwood House in London plus all the family silver etc., were inherited by Richard's sister Anne's son Ralph, first Duke of Montagu.

Incidentally his son John, second Duke of Montagu, married Mary Churchill, a relation of Sir Winston Churchill, British prime minister during World War Two and sister-in-law of an Earl Spencer, relation of Princess Diana and Prince William. You see the Winwoods are related to royalty even if it is by marriage. (And Alan Clayson described us as peasants in his book!)

Another mention of the name is in the baptismal records of an Agnes Winwood at Aston Botterel in Shropshire in 1570. The earliest immigrant to the US to Virginia was Mary Winwood in 1730. The Birmingham census of 1818 lists just one family of Winwoods, J. Winwood who lived in Cheapside near the city centre and was a chair- and cabinet-maker.

During the Victorian era a lot of Winwood families moved into the West Midlands from Shropshire and Worcestershire, probably in search of work. By the 1900's there were several large families with up to 20 children per family in some cases. There were 25 Winwoods killed in action during WWI and 3 in WWII. Their details can be found on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site. The musical connection started with these families playing to amuse themselves.

My great-grandfather Albert Winwood (1844-1929) is said to have been able to play every instrument in the band, his sons played in Regimental bands during WW1, and at least one of his grandchildren went on to be a music teacher. There are about 20 families of Winwoods still living in the West Midlands today, most of them are related to each other. There are only about 300 Winwoods in the whole of the UK.

-- Keith Winwood


Estelle Winwood, the actress, is my deceased grandfather's cousin apparently. His name was Arthur Winwood. He married Nellie Winifred Fifield, from Folkestone, Kent, while he was in England. He was from England as well, but in WWI had joined the Canadian Armed Forces. He went to Canada before my grandmother in order to get properly released from the CAF and get his release papers, as he could not do so while in England. She came over to Quebec, Canada on the S.S.Lusitania. (She was supposed to come over on the Titanic. Lucky for me that she missed the boat, so to speak). When she did come over, she was already expecting her first daughter, also named Estelle.

Anyway, they had six girls and one boy, Estelle, Grace, Phyllis, Ivy, Joyce, Marjorie, and George. My Mother is Marjorie Winwood. She married Claude Beauchamp.

It was my Grandfather who told me that Estelle Winwood, the actress, was his cousin. I have not met his relatives. It is interesting to note that "our" Estelle (also called Stella) had the same long face, high cheekbones, and nose, as that of the actress. The similarity of the Winwoods is definitely present.

-- Claudette Beauchamp

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Also, please see Winwood Family History, Genealogy & Information and the Winwood Family Tree.
Page created December 15, 1999.
Last updated October 10, 2001.
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