101 Welsh Last Names With Meanings And History

Georgia Stone
Dec 12, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Nov 11, 2020
Flag of Wales waving above the Cardiff Castle situated in Parklands
Age: 0-99
Read time: 8.1 Min

The kind people of Wales are a delight to know for their incredible culture, history, geography, food, names, and more.

They are also known to possess some of the unique names and surnames in the world. These names have mysterious and exquisite meanings of their own.

Wales is a gorgeous nation that comprises of magnificent mountains and stunning landscapes. One can immerse themselves in the rich cultural background that the nation boasts of.

It also has its own tradition and history. What is also interesting along with the demographic features of Wales is the surnames of people. With fascinating meanings and dating back to ancient times, Welsh surnames are one of a kind.

Many of the last names denote the type of families based on their occupation and designation in the land. Some names can also be used as a first name for either a boy or a girl. We bring to you an extensive list of 100 common and unique Welsh surnames known today.

The surnames belong to the people of Wales solely or with a little borrowing from other ancient names. However, the names come with a rich origin and family history.

For more last names, take a look at Scottish Last Names and Viking Last Names.

Common Welsh Surnames

How aware are you of the fact that many of your favorite celebrities and fellow dear friends boast Welsh surnames? Some of the Welsh clan dates back to thousands of years and they make quite a decent portion of the population today.

A few surnames may be easy to pronounce and a few maybe not, but each comes with its interesting facts and significance.

Even though the surname may be a common one that you have heard for years, it will yet have some very intriguing fact behind it. So, here we have for you a list of 27 of the most common last names in Wales that you should be aware of.

1. Collins, (Welsh word ‘Collen') meaning "hazel or a hazel grove".

2. Dee, (Welsh word ‘Du’ meaning dark) meaning "dark".

3. Davies, (Welsh variant of ‘Davis’) meaning "David's son" (Hebrew meaning ‘beloved’).

4. Evans, (patronymic name) meaning "son of Evan".

5. Floyd, (Welsh word ‘llwyd’) one of the last names meaning "gray".

6. Hughes, (Germanic word ‘Hugh’) one of the surnames meaning "heart".

7. Hopkins, (Germanic name ‘Hrodebert’) meaning "bright fame".

8. Jones, meaning "son of loan".

9. James, (Hebrew origin of ‘Jacob’) meaning "supplanter".

10. Lewis, (from one of the old names ‘Llywelyn’) ‘llyw’ means "leader".

11. Lloyd, (Welsh word ‘llwyd’) meaning "gray or brown".

12. Morris, (from one of the old names ‘Maurice’) meaning "dark".

13. Moore, (derived from word ‘mawr’) meaning "big" or "large".

14. Nest, (from one of the old names ‘Agnes’) common last name meaning "pure".

15. Owen, (from name ‘Owain’) one of the surnames meaning "noble".

16. Price, (patronymic name from ‘ap Rhys’) ‘Rhys’ meaning "enthusiasm".

17. Phillips, (Greek name ‘Philippos’) composed of ‘philein’ for ‘love’ and ‘hippos’ for ‘horse.’

18. Powell, (Welsh origin) is one of the popular surnames meaning "eminent".

19. Parry, (patronymic name of ‘ap Harry’) meaning "son of Harry".

20. Rosser, (English name ‘Roger’) German elements ‘hrod’ for "fame" and ‘gar’ for "spear".

21. Roberts, (German name hrodberaht) ‘hrod’ means "fame" and 'beraht’ means "bright".

22. Richards, (Old English origin) popular surnames meaning "powerful and brave".

23. Smith, (Old English name 'smiþ') who work as a metal smitten.

24. Taylor, (French and Latin origin) popular Welsh surnames meaning a "tailor".

25. Thomas, (Aramaic origin) meaning "twin".

26. Williams, (Old German name ‘Willahelm’) ‘wil’ and ‘helm’ for "desire and protection".

27. Yale, (Welsh word ‘ial’) meaning "fertile upland".

Ancient Welsh Last Names

Aerial view of Raglan Castle in Monmouthshire, South Wales, UK

There are some surnames in Wales that date back to many centuries back. With their origin from prominent rulers and brave knights, the surnames have taken a stronghold in many families to date.

Some surnames are also inspired by ancient words of other cultures, that are combined with theirs to create a unique result. These are also used today as the first names by many because of the beauty behind the name. Let us take a look at some of these last names of Welsh origin.

28. Breckon, derived from a sixth-century prince from Brecon county.

29. Cadogan, (derived from old Welsh family ‘Cadwgan’) meaning "honor in battle".

30. Cecil, (derived from the Latin name ‘Sextilius’) meaning "sixth".

31. Craddock, (ancient Celtic name ‘Caratacos’) Celtic word ‘car’ meaning "love".

32. Edwards, (Old English words ‘ead’ and ‘weard’) meaning "rich guard".

33. Elijah, (Hebrew origin) ‘my god is lord.' Also, many saints' names.

34. Griffiths, (derived from name ‘Griphiud’) meaning "lord" or "son of Gruffudd".

35. Howell, (derived from name ‘Hywel’) meaning "eminent".

36. Idle, (from name ‘Ithael’) meaning "bountiful Lord".

37. John, (Hebrew origin of name ‘Yochanan’) meaning "God is gracious".

38. Kemble, (from name ‘Cynbel’) meaning "war chief".

39. Kendrick, (from name ‘Cynwrig’) ‘cyn’ means "chief" and ‘gwr’ means "man".

40. Kerry, (Old Welsh name) meaning "near the castle".

41. Meredith, (names Meredydd or Maredudd) meaning "sea lord" or "great lord".

42. Morgan, (from the name ‘Morcant’) ‘mor’ means "sea" and ‘cant’ means "circle".

43. Moss, (from Irish ‘Maolmona’) refers to an ancient devotee of Gaelic.

44. Nevitt (Old English word ‘cniht’) meaning a "knight" or a "young man".

45. Pembroke, (toponymic surnames from Pembroke) Ireland established in the 17th century.

46. Rees, (derived from name ‘Rhys’) ‘Rhys’ meaning "enthusiasm".

47. Sayce, (from ‘sais’ meaning ‘saxon’) referred to English residents in Wales.

48. Scurlock, (a Welsh name) combination of ‘ysgor’ which means "fort".

49. Sealy, (from name ‘Selyf’) from the Biblical name ‘Solomon’ meaning "peaceful".

50. Tudor, (derived from name ‘Tudur’) meaning "ruler of the people".

51. Uren, (from Brythonic name ‘Orbogenos’) ‘Urgen’ where ‘gen’ means "birth".

52. Wogan, (derived from the name ‘Gwgon’) meaning "to frown".

Unique Welsh Last Names

Rare Welsh surnames are not only unique in how they sound. You may be well acquainted with some popular Welsh names like Oliver, Jack, George and William, but what about surnames?

They also come with intriguing meanings of Welsh origin. Right from their roots of the Welsh last name to the family they belong to, here are 48 unique surnames that you should definitely know.

You can also pick the names if you are looking for a unique name for your newborn. They are sure to please your ears every time you call your child and take pride in the special meaning behind it.

53. Awbrey, (surname from one living with elder trees) meaning "Aubrey's son".

54. Bach, (from Welsh word ‘bach’) meaning "short or small man".

55. Baughan, (from Welsh word ‘bychan’) meaning "little or small".

56. Beavin, (patronymic names from ‘ab-lefan’) meaning "son of lefan".

57. Beddoe, (variant of the name ‘Bedo’) meaning "protector of the sea".

58. Bennion, (Celtic name from Enion) surname meaning the "son of Einion".

59. Bethel, (one of the patronymic surnames) meaning "bountiful Lord".

60. Blayney, (from Welsh word ‘blean’) meaning "a river source".

61. Caddell, (from the old names ‘Cadell’) meaning "battle".

62. Cardiff, (Welsh words ‘caer’ and ‘taf’) meaning "fort" and "water stream".

63. Carew, (from Welsh words ‘caer’ and ‘rhiw’) meaning "fort" and "slope".

64. Coslett, (Germany origin) surnames common in northern Wales and England.

65. Dew, (migrated to England after Norman Conquest) meaning "treasured one".

66. Edris, (variant of Idris) ‘uud’ and ‘ris’ mean "lord" and "impulsive".

67. Ellis, (derivative of name ‘Elisedd’) ‘elus’ meaning "benevolent".

68. Eynon, (derived from the name ‘Enion’) one of the surnames meaning "anvil".

69. Flint, (toponymic name from Flint) popular from the Flint Castle.

70. Flower, (French word ‘flur’) one of the surnames meaning ‘flower.’

71. Gaynor, (elements ‘Gwen’, ‘Wyf’ and ‘Fawr’) meaning "fair", "smooth", and "large".

72. Gethin, (derived from ‘Cethin’) one of the surnames meaning "hideous".

73. Glace, (Welsh word ‘Glas’) surnames meaning "green" or "silver-gray".

74. Goff, (‘Gough’ from Welsh word ‘coch’) one with reddish complexion or hair.

75. Guild, (derived from Welsh surname ‘Gwyllt’) meaning "wild".

76. Gwalchmai, (two Welsh elements, ‘gwalch’ and ‘mai) meaning "hawk" and "field".

77. Hanmer, (refers to the place named Hanmer) meaning "a lake".

78. Havard, (Hereford toponymic name) ‘army’ (here) and 'stream's shallow section' (ford).

79. Hier, (Welsh word ‘hir’) surnames meaning "tall" or "long".

80. Ithell, (derived from the old names ‘ludhail’) meaning "bountiful Lord".

81. Kneath, (from Neath) refers to places including a river in Wales.

82. Maddocks, (Welsh name ‘Madoc’) ‘mad’ meaning "fortunate".

83. Merrick, (derived from the old names ‘Meurig’) surnames meaning "dark".

84. Mostyn, (toponymic name from Mostyn) meaning "moss town".

85. Myrick, (Welsh name ‘Myrick’) one of the surnames meaning "dark".

86. Nanney, (toponymic surname from Nannau) one of the surnames meaning "brook".

87. Pennoyer, (derived from ‘Penoyre’) ‘pen’ meaning ‘head’ and ‘aur’ meaning "golden".

88. Pierce, (Welsh patronymic surname ‘Piers’) from Greek word ‘Petros’ meaning "stone".

89. Poyner, (Latin names, ‘Honorius’) one of the surnames meaning "honored".

90. Priddy, (patronymic name ‘ap Redith’) meaning "son of Redith" (sea lord).

91. Pride, (derived from Welsh word ‘prid’) meaning "precious".

92. Prothero, (anglicized Welsh name version ‘ap Rhydderch’) meaning "son of Rhydderch".

93. Roderick, (anglicized Welsh name version ‘Rhydderch’) meaning "reddish-brown".

94. Tew, (derived from Welsh) meaning "fat" or "plump".

95. Trahern, (Old Welsh names ‘Trahaearn’) meaning "most" (tra) and "iron" (haearn).

96. Trevor, (toponymic Welsh words ‘tref’ and ‘mawr’) meaning "town" and "large".

97. Vaughan, (derived from Welsh word ‘bychan’) meaning "small" or "little".

98. Voyle, (derived from Welsh word ‘moel’) meaning "bald".

99. Wathen, (Old names ‘Gwaiddan’) one originating from 'Robeston Wathen' in Wales.

100.Wynn, (Welsh name ‘Wyn’ and word ‘Gwyn’) meaning "blessed".

101. Yarwood, (anglicized Welsh name ‘Iorwerth’) ‘ior’ for "lord" and ‘berth’ for "handsome".

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Welsh Last Names then why not take a look at welsh girl names and Norwegian Last Names, or for something different take a look at Roman Last Names.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia Stone picture

Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

Read full bio >