Meaning and Origin of: Winthrop

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First name origins & meanings:

  • Old English : From the friend's hill
  • Old English : Friendly

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English : habitational name from places in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire called Winthorpe. The former is named with the Old English personal name or byname Wine, meaning ‘friend’, + Old Norse þorp ‘settlement’. In the latter the first element is a contracted form of the Old English personal name Wigmund, composed of the elements wīg ‘war’ + mund ‘protection’, or the Old Norse equivalent, Vígmundr.
  • John Winthrop (1588–1649) was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He kept a detailed journal, an invaluable source for historians. He was born into a family of Suffolk, England, gentry whose fortunes were founded by his grandfather Adam Winthrop (d. 1562) of Lavenham. In 1544 the latter acquired a 500-acre estate that had been part of the monastery of Bury St. Edmunds. John Winthrop emigrated from Groton, Suffolk, England, to Salem, MA, in 1630 because of Charles I’s anti-Puritan policies. By the time of his death he had had four wives and 16 children, the most notable of whom was his son John (1606–76), a scientist and governor of CT. His descendants were prominent in politics and science, including John Winthrop (1714–79), an astronomer, and Robert Winthrop (1809–94), a senator and speaker of the House of Representatives.