Dawes Surname: Very English, But From Wales

by Mark

The Dawes surname emerged during medieval times and records show it in England, Wales and Ireland. It may have been introduced into Wales and England in the twelfth century by the Crusaders, as it can be linked to the original Hebrew for David, meaning ‘the beloved one’.  Dawes the surname has also been linked to the Jack Daw bird because of its distinctive characteristics. The Irish connection is due to the Anglicisation of the Gaelic ‘O’Deaghaidh’ name; which means good and lucky or fateful.

Famous early Dawes were Ralph Dawe of Worcester in 1275, Lovekin Dawes of Oxford in 1279 and Sir William Dawes the Archbishop of York in 1713. Remember the character Rufus Dawes – or Marjorie Dawes? Both fictional, but their characters are always representative of middle England – middle-class, pleasant enough sensibilities.

Dawes Surname: Very English, But From Wales

John Dawes came to New South Wales from Worcester in 1806. William Dawes from Middlesex arrived in Tasmania or Van Diemen’s Land as it was then known in 1819. He was joined by a David Dawes in 1829 and Elizabeth Dawes from Norfolk in 1831. Robert Dawes, Henry Dawes and Samuel Dawes arrived in NSW in 1834, 1835 and 1836 respectively. These were all convict transportees and there totals some sixty convict Dawes arriving in different penal colonies around Australia.

Then there’s the stand-out, William Dawes (1762-1836), who quit the colony of New South Wales because he was disgusted at how the government and settlers treated the Aboriginals. He was an officer of Marines, a scientist and administrator. He volunteered to serve with the First Fleet and remained in the colony until 1791. After returning to England he was sent to Sierra Leone and eventually died in Antigua in 1836.

Stewart Dawes is the founder of Atomic Digital and has successfully worked in the digital marketing sphere for a number of years. Previous to this he was in the media, publishing print magazines and editing health and entertainment publications.

Dawes is not a common name in the United States with only around six thousand people bearing the Dawes surname as of the year 2000. It is more common in New Mexico than anywhere else in America.

Doors have opened for Dawes across the new world on continents such as Africa, the Americas, and Australia. The Dawes surname has been emblazoned across individuals of both outstanding and infamous sensibilities and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.