The Wade name in Yorkshire seems to have come from the Nordic myth of Wada, a legendary sea giant. Many of the sites attributed there to Wade were in areas that were settled by the Danish Vikings.
of Yorkshire, Wade may have come from the Anglo Saxon wad, meaning a meadow for animals
to feed, but more likely from wadan,
meaning a ford or crossing and describing someone who lived near a
Select Wade Resources on
- Wade Family History Wades from NE England to America.
- Wade Virginia Genealogy The Edward Wade line.
- Mary Wade Family History Association Mary Wade and her descendants in Australia.
- Charles Paget Wade The Wades in St. Kitts.
England. The Wade name has cropped up in Yorkshire and also, to a lesser extent, in London and the west country.
Yorkshire Wades have always been numerous in Yorkshire, it is thought from the Saxon Duke Wada. He is said to have given his name to Wade's Castle (Mulgrave Castle near Whitby) and to Wade's Grove, although the latter was more of a size with the legendary giant who gave his name to Wade's Causeway.
The Wade (or Waad) name dates here from 1379 in poll tax records. They were first established at Plumtreebanks in Addington and then, after the dissolution of the monasteries, at Kilsnea. But they lost out in the Civil War by being Royalist supporters and their fortunes never really recovered.
From this family came Armagil Wade, the Elizabethan voyager to Newfoundland in 1536 on The Minion, and his son, Sir William, the governor of the Tower of London at the time of the Gunpowder plot. They were not universally liked. "That busybody Wade and that beast Waad" was one description. Sir Walter Raleigh, who had been imprisoned in the Tower, called its governor "that villain Wade."
London There were early Wade sightings in London. John Wade was a sheriff and alderman of London in the 1390's. He appears on subsidy rolls as "J. Wadeblad." The name cropped up later in Essex, Suffolk, and Oxford.
SW England. A Wade presence in Cornwall dates back to 1313 when a man named Wade was granted a market and two fairs in the manor of Pawton. The Wade bridge was built across the river Camel in 1460 and Wadebridge became an important town for local wool merchants and sheep farmers.
Wades were recorded as holding lands at various places around Bristol in the 14th century. Later Wades at Filton near Bristol included John Wade, a major in Cromwell’s army during the Civil War, and his son Nathaniel, a plotter and conspirator who somehow managed to escape from being executed.
A Cornish Wade family lived at Trethevy Court in Tintagel. They included Arthur Wade, mayor of Tintagel in 1775. However, the 19th century represented bad times for Cornwall. Trethevy Court is but a ruin today and most of the Wades have emigrated, to Canada, America, or Australia.
Wales. The first references to Wades in Pembrokeshire come in the early 1600's.
In the mid 19th century, there were John Wade running the Blacksmith's Arms in Pembroke; James Wade spinning his stories there (he was one of the region's best known story tellers); and Frank Wade organizing the musical entertainment for the area. His shop front proclaimed a company of organ builders and musical instrument dealers, but his actual business might have been something more modest than that.
Kilawally Wades produced General George
Wade who was instrumental in crushing the Jacobite rebellion of 1715
and later supervised the new road system for the Highlands.
- the Wade presence in Clonebraney continued until 1911. But the place is now just a ruin.
America. Wades in America
could be of English, Irish, Dutch or German descent.
English Wades arrived
in Virginia in the 1630's, William Wade on the St. Christopher, Edward and Robert
Wade on the Paul, and John
Wade on the Constance.
Edward's descendants later migrated to Tennessee and Georgia.
John Wade came
to Virginia sometime in the 1740's. His descendants settled in
Ohio. Walter Gingery's 1918 book Wade Family History covered the
line of Wenman and Margaret Wade.
from Virginia can be traced to Kentucky, Illinois, North
Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, Missouri, and Texas.
became Waids. David Wade was an early
settler in Texas. Although he himself died of an accident in
1858, his Wade family lived on in Fayetteville.
line started with Benjamin Wade on Long Island in the 1650’s and
New Jersey and later to Seneca county in upstate New York.
Jephtha Wade was born there in 1811, the
youngest of nine children. His father
died soon afterwards and he left home at the age of twelve for a series
1847, he acquired his first job in the telegraph industry.
He would make his fortune in this field over
the next twenty years, eventually forming the Western Union Telegraph
Wades in the
Revolutionary War Irish-born William Wade fought on the
side. His cocked hat, pierced by an American musket ball at the
Battle of Bunker Hill, has been kept and is held by one of his
descendants. Whilst in New York, William fell for Ann Dean, one
of the belles of the city, and resigned his commission. Their
daughter Frances was also a famous beauty. A miniature of her,
painted by Edward Greene Mabone, still exists.
Wades on the American side. Daniel Wade's property in New Jersey
was taken and destroyed by British troops in 1780. Another Wade,
James Wade, fought against the British from Bunker Hill to the final
victory at Yorktown. He was a dirt poor farmer after the
war. But one of his sons Benjamin Wade, who started off as a
laborer on the Erie Canal, studied law and eventually rose to be the
Senator for Ohio. A vocal radical Republican, he was actively
involved in national politics before and after the Civil War.
Other Wades The Wades
America came not just from England, but from Holland and Germany as
well. The name here originated from very different roots,
the Middle Dutch or German wade
meaning garment or large net. These immigrants left their own
A New World
Dutch barn stands on the Wade farm
property in Readington, New Jersey. Sylvanus Wade and his family
were early immigrants into Wisconsin. Their Wade House Stagecoach
Inn, built in 1850 in Sheboygan on Lake Michigan's western
exists as a museum to their way of life.
Caribbean. Solomon Wade came
to St. Kitts in the 1840's and built up a thriving business there
around sugar plantations. He married his black housekeeper Mary
James in 1855 and they raised six children. The family connection
with St. Kitts extended to his grandson Charles Paget Wade who lived in
St. Kitts until his death in 1956.
Wades in the Caribbean have been locally-born, in Montserrat and
Wade came from nothing in Montserrat to develop an inter-Caribbean
shipping and trading
business in the 1930's. Later Wades of the family left
Montserrat, most notably
Tony Wade who, against all odds, became a successful black entrepreneur
in 1950's Britain.
- while in 2007 the Bermuda airport was renamed the L. Frederick Wade airport in honor of the former Bermuda PLP leader.
She is in fact credited with being the matriarch of one of the largest families in the world. They grew to include five generations and over 300 descendants during her lifetime and many thousands today, including the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. A group compiled the book, Mary Wade to Us: A Family History," in 1986.
Select Wade Miscellany
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Select Wade Names
Armagil Wade was the Elizabethan voyager who reached Newfoundland in 1536.
General George Wade was the pacifier of the Highlands after the Jacobite rebellion of 1715.
Benjamin Wade was the radical Republican Senator for Ohio from 1851 to 1869.
Jephtha Wade founded Western Union Telegraph in 1861 and later became a benefactor to his adopted city of Cleveland.
Virginia Wade won the Wimbledon ladies' tennis championship in 1977.
Abdoulaye Wade, whose forebears were Wolof slave traders, is a recent President of Senegal.
Select Wades Today
- 13,000 in the UK (most numerous in Yorkshire)
- 31,000 in America (most numerous in Texas).
- 15,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
PS. You might want to check out the surnames page on this website. It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.
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