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
- The Wade Family Wades of the Isle of Man.
- Wade Virginia Genealogy Edward Wade line.
- Mary Wade Family History Association Mary Wade and descendants in Australia.
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.
Cornwall The Cornish presence 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.
A 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 was:
- John Wade running the Blacksmith's Arms in Pembroke
- James Wade spinning his stories (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.
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, the Wade family lived on in Fayetteville.
line started with Benjamin Wade on Long Island in the 1650ís 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 shore, now
exists as a museum to their way of life.
Caribbean. An English Wade
family were sugar and then cotton planters in St. Kitts.
more prominent Wades have been local, in Montserrat and Bermuda.
Wade came from nothing to develop an inter-island shipping and trading
business in the 1930's. Later Wades left Montserrat, most notably
Tony Wade who, against all odds, became a successful black entrepreneur
in 1950's Britain. In 2007, the Bermuda airport was renamed the
L. Frederick Wade airport in honor of the former Bermuda PLP leader.
Australia. Mary Wade was only eleven in 1790 when she was transported as a convict to Australia on "that floating brothel," the Lady Juliana. She lived first in the Norfolk Island penal colony and then at a place near the Hawkesbury river. Here she raised a family which numbered twenty one children.
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 present 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.
Ben Wade was the fictional outlaw played by Russell Crowe in the film 3.10 to Yuma.
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)
- 28,000 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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