The Wigmore Name

Wigmore CastleWigmore castle in Herefordshire (map) holds a certain fascination for me, but unfortunately I’ve found no direct connection with it. It was built by the Mortimer family and, as far as can be determined, there is no blood relationship between that family and the Wigmores. St James Church, Wigmore, has created the Wigmore Centre with many resources for discovering the history of the village, castle and church.

There is also a place called Wigmore in Kent, (map) which was not developed until the early part of 20th century when smallholders settled. Before that, this was land surrounded by woodland. The origin of Wigmore could be ‘broad pool’ as Wigmore Road was built where a pool had been. This and other possible origins of the name, mainly from the Herefordshire Wigmore, include:

Wigemore 1086 (Doomsday Book).
Probably ‘quaking marsh’. Old English wicga + mor.*
Wydemere 1275.
‘Broad pool’. Old English wid + mere.*
Anglo-Saxon for pirates.
Gwig mawr
Welsh for ‘great wood’

* A Dictionary of English Place-Names, Oxford University Press, ©A.D. Mills 1998

The two names could have developed from ‘wicga mor’ from Wales and ‘wydmere’ in Kent. This would be quite a coincidence, but in genealogy nothing is impossible.

Early records of the name include Warnecombe Wigmor, who was registered as a student in Oxford in 1596, and Michael Wigmor of Somerset in 1602. The parish records of Canterbury contain an entry for the marriage of Henry Wigmore to Sarah Croke in 1688 while Richard Wigmore married Mary Weston in 1771 in St George’s, Hannover Square. The Arms were granted to the Wigmore family of Sholden, Hertfordshire. BLAZON: Argent three greyhounds in pale courant sable collared or. CREST: A greyhound sejant argent collared gules ringed and garnished or. This is not to be confused with the Wigmore Arms in Luton, Bedfordshire, which is a pub.

Find out more about Wigmore Castle and the history of the region. To discuss the Wigmore name, ancestry or genealogy, join the Wigmores Group at YahooGroups! I have also prepared a list of everyone in my family tree and those of my in-laws.