Oldest Families in England

Oldest Families in England

England is home to one of the world’s most powerful monarchies, but it is also home to some families that have been around for several decades. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look a few of England’s oldest families and their histories. Let’s get right into it! 

The 4 Oldest Families in England

4. Berkeley family

Time period/year founded: 12th century
Lineage: Anglo-Saxon
Founder: Robert Fitzharding

Berkeley familyPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

In addition to being one of the oldest families in England, the Berkeley family has a pretty interesting history. This family recently discovered that their lineage stretches further back in time than when the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain.

Still, it is interesting to note that this family owns the Berkeley Castle. Their royal manor was granted to them by William the Conqueror as well.

Did you know? 

The Berkeley family still owns most of the land that its family owned in the 11th and 12th centuries.

3. Arden Family

Time period/year founded: 11th century
Lineage: Anglo-Saxon
Founder: Alwin

Arden FamilyPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Arden family is another old British family that can trace its lineage all the way back to the Anglo-Saxons. One of this family’s first members was Alwin, also spelled Æthelwine. He was the Sheriff of Warwickshire during the Norman Conquest. After he was succeeded by his son, his family line continued for several decades. 

It’s interesting to note that the Arden family was related to William Shakespeare by blood. His mother, Mary Arden, belonged to this family. 

Did you know?

The Arden family’s name is shared with the Forest of Arden.

2. Clan Swinton

Time period/year founded: 11th century
Lineage: Anglo-Saxon
Founder: Unknown

Clan SwintonPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Scottish clan Swinton hails from the Scottish Lowlands. Although many believe that this family can traces its history back to the Anglo-Saxon invasion, there is not much evidence to support this claim. However, this family does have a noble history, as its chiefs were descendants of Northumbrian kings.

This family contributed to much of England’s history! Its members fought in various notable wars, such as the Wars of Scottish Independence, the Hundred Years War, where they fought in France, and in the Battle of Baugé. 

Did you know?

The Swinton clan gets its name from its wilderness conquests; the ancestors of this family were known for capturing wild boars.

1. Grindlay Family

Time period/year founded: 850 
Lineage: Anglo-Saxon
Founder: Hereweald and Æðel of Grēneleāh or Gryndeleā

Grindlay FamilyPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Grindlay family is one of the most interesting families we’ve ever read about! They are a Scottish and knightly family and come from medieval origins. They also have two separate and primary branches within the family, one in what was known as the Scottish Marches and the other in the English Midlands. Members of this family can also be found in other parts of the world, such as New Zealand, North America, South Africa, and Ireland.

Though many believe that this family’s members are descendants from the Anglo-Saxon thegns, some historians beg to differ on this matter.

Did you know?

The Grindlay family belonged to the minor sections of British nobility.


In this article, we took a closer look at some of the oldest families in England! When researching this article, we realized that there was so much history behind each family, and spent more time than necessary reading about each one and their place in British history. It was also extremely interesting to note that many of these families still have many surviving members today! We hope you learned something new, and that you enjoyed reading this article. 

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