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WAINWRIGHT Family History

This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational name for a wagon-builder, a wainwright, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "waegnwyrhta", a maker of carts and wagons, a cartwright. The surname is a good example of the many medieval compound names ending with "wright", a maker, often a carpenter or joiner. Other examples are Boatwright, Shipwright, Cheesewright and Arkwright. The initial element "wain", derives from the Olde English "waeg(e)n, waen", which was a large open vehicle, usually four-wheeled, drawn by horses. The Oxford English Dictionary observes that "wainwright" is not found as a vocabulary word in Middle English, though its existence is attested by the surname which is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below)...

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