Twynam is an English family name originating from Hampshire, although an apparently separate family is found in Scotland and the Borders.

Judging by Internet searches, examination of telephone directories and of historical sources such as the UK Census and registration of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, the Twynam name is not, and never has been, very common. In 1980, only 40 Twynams were listed in the UK telephone directories.

Twymans and Twynhams are more numerous, the latter, at least, is likely to be the result of an erroneous correction of the spelling of Twynam, supposing it to include ham to denote a village or hamlet. The Twynam spelling is very consistent, however, traceable at least as far back as the late 1500s.

The origins of the Twynam name

Twynam is derived from betweon eam, Anglo-Saxon for between the rivers. The town of Christchurch (which stands between two rivers: the Avon and the Stour) was originally known as Twynam, from the Norman conquest as Christchurch-Twynam and from the 14th Century, plain Christchurch. Now in Dorset, it was, until 1974, in Hampshire. The first Twynams would have been named from the place, either because that is where they were born or because they owned land there.

Twynams with a claim to fame

Edward Twynam (1831 to 1923)

Edward Twynam emigrated in 1855 on board the S.S. Chowringhee to Australia, having trained as a surveyor in Germany. In May 1859, he surveyed Narrandera village site which was proclaimed a village in April 1863. There is now a Twynam Street there. He was District Surveyor, surveying Newcastle, New South Wales, in September 1879. He was later Surveyor-General of New South Wales. Mount Twynam, in New South Wales, is named after him.

Emily Twynam (1869 to 1930)

Emily Twynam is increasingly well known in Australia, for her turn of the century carving and botanical drawing. An exhibition was held in Lanyon homestead in April 2004 of pieces done for family members and which remain in the family; others now find themselves held or looked after by the National Trust of Australia, who bought the Twynam residence Riversdale. She sent work to an exhibition in Chicago (in 1893), and later to an exhibition of women's art and craft work in 1907 in Melbourne, which her sister had a hand in organizing.

Geddes Sansoni Twynam (1829 to 1901)

Lieutenant Colonel Geddes Sansoni Twynam entered the Army in 1845 and saw action with the 61st Regiment and the 13th Light Infantry during the Indian Mutiny notably at the siege and capture of Delhi and the actions of Najafghur, Tulsipur (in modern day Nepal) and Butwab. He also served in the Ceylon Rifles,

George Twynam (1766 to 1846)

George Twynam, a gentleman farmer, left £200 in his will to the Twynam Charity, (established by Henry Twynam, his father) to provide coal, etc., for the poor of Fairoak and Bishopstoke. He endowed the Wollaston charity, to provide clothing, with £30 pa income from land in Essex. He also established a third charity with a bequest of £8 used to distribute the ‘Valentine bread’ on 14th February. He also left a bequest for the erection of a gallery in the church in Whitchurch, Hampshire.

Henry Twynam (1760 to 1840)

Henry Twynam was a gentleman farmer and merchant, living at Quobleigh in Bishopstoke, Hampshire. In 1834 he established a charity to provide fuel and clothes to be distributed on 21st December each year to the poor of the west side of the parish. He also granted a house, garden and orchard in Fair Oak, net rents to be applied for the benefit of the poor in the east side of the parish.

Henry Joseph Twynam (1887 to 1966)

Sir Henry Joseph Twynam, entered the Indian Civil Service in 1910 and was Vice-President of the Cooch-Behar State Council (1920-24), from 1936, Chief Secretary of the Government of Bengal, Acting Governor of Assam from 1939 and Governor of the Central Province and Berar 1940-46. He wrote a memoir, covering the years 1910-1946, entitled Golden Years and Times of Stress He was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India. He wrote a study of Sir Jitendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur, late Maharaja of Cooch-Behar, in the 1920’s and The History of the Twynam Family, around 1922.

Humfrey Twynam (1490 to after 1566)

Humfrey Twynam of Soberton, Hampshire, one of the first Twynam to have sufficient importance to find mention in the Visitation of the heralds (in 1566), and who, in 1509, married Anne Reade. Anne’s brother, John Reade, died on board the Mary Rose when she sank on 19th July 1545, which was witnessed by King Henry VIII.

Humphrey Martin Barney Twynam (1858 to 1913)

Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey Martin Barney Twynam, D.S.0., 1st battalion East Lancashire Regiment, who was recommended for the Victoria Cross by his brother officers for his gallantry at Ahmed Khel in Afghanistan for killing half a dozen of the enemy and was Mentioned in Despatches for his “Zealous Work” as Commanding Officer of 2,000 Mounted Infantry, both whilst serving on the North-West Frontier of India, and was awarded the D.S.0., for his services during the Boer War.

John Twynam (1801 to 1898)

Mr. John Talmadge Twynam of Whitchurch in Hampshire was a protagonist of the agriculturists in Hampshire in the controversies concerning the repeal of the Corn Laws, the Tithe Commutation Bill, the Reform Bill and other matters affecting the agricultural community. He had inherited several thousand acres of farm land on the death of his father in 1825, and he went on to secure some fame as a practical farmer by his successful crossing of the Old Hampshire sheep with Cotswold tups, in around 1829, to produce the first Hampshire Down flocks.

According to the obituary of his son, John Twynam, he contributed to the Hampshire Chronicle, and other agricultural papers for a period of nearly 70 years, inherited an intense love of country life, and took a keen interest in agriculture. He, was assisted by his twin sons John and Henry in the extensive parish valuations in Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire and Wiltshire from 1860 to 1870.

Philip Alexander Anstruther Twynam (1833 to 1920)

Captain P. A. A. Twynam of the East Yorkshire Regiment was Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General during the Egyptian campaign of 1882. In 1890 he was Honorary Secretary of the Canterbury Board of the Central Board of Missions and in 1895 he was Organising Secretary of the Church of England Soldiers' Institutes Association.

Robert de Twynam (14th Century)

Sir Robert de Twynam of Christchurch, Hampshire is one of the earliest recorded using this surname in Hampshire. He was concerned in various transactions concerning land in and around Christchurch between the years 1338 and 1361. By then the name Christchurch had generally come into use instead of Twynam, but the old castle of the Montacute earls of Salisbury at Christchurch continued to be called by the older name.

Robert Twynam (20th century)

Robert Twynam, former head groundsman at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon. His wife was in charge of the ladies locker room.

His Grandchildren now live in Cambridgeshire

Thomas Holloway Twynam (1794 to 1869)

Captain Thomas Holloway Twynam, R.N. was the Master Attendant at Trincomalee, commanded H. M. Schooner Cochin in 1820 and was P&O's first agent in Point de Galle, Ceylon until his retirement in 1850.

He married the Honourable Elizabeth Mary Twistleton, sister of Thomas Twistleton,13th Baron Saye and Sele.

Thomas Twynam (19th century)

Thomas Twynam emigrated to Nassau, Bahamas from Christchurch, Hampshire between 1855 and 1864. There is a quarter of the town still called Twynam Heights.

William Crofton Twynam (1827 to 1922)

Sir William Crofton Twynam, Government Agent of Northern Province, Ceylon and Superintendent of Pearl Fisheries. His interest in wildlife was not just professional; he had a marine crustacean named after him (Syngastes twynami) and a contemporary medical journal reveals another aspect of his interest in wildlife:

Perhaps the word's first demonstration of the venomous nature of a sea snake took place in Sri Lanka in 1864. The experiment was conducted by Mr. (later Sir) W C Twynam ... He picked up two sea snakes on to his inspection ship and threw a chicken at them. Several times they ignored the chicken, but after many attempts one of them bit the leg. It died within four minutes..

He was also the compiler, in 1889 of ‘’The Ceylon turtle.", Ceylon Literary Register.

He left a permanent legacy at St. John's College, Jaffna in Sri Lanka:

Another interesting and valuable addition to the College this year was the Twynam Museum collection. Sir William, the donor of the collection, had entered the Ceylon Civil Service in 1845. After holding appointments in different parts of the Island, he went finally to Jaffna as Government Agent in 1869. There he held the chief Government post for twenty-seven years, until he retired in 1896. Commonly known as , ‘The Rajah of the North’,he earned the love and respect of all the people of the Province which he served. Even after his retirement he continued to live at Jaffna, constantly devoting himself to all public interests, until he died on the 12th of March, 1922, at the great age of ninety-four. St. John's always had a prominent place in his affections, and it was to Mr. Thompson as a personal friend that at this time he gave his splendid collection illustrative of the products and arts and crafts of Jaffna and the Northern Province. It was arranged that, though belonging to the School, the Museum should be, open to the public, and its contents be under the joint trusteeship of the Government Agent of the Northern Province, the Manbragar of Jaffna and the Principal of the College. Mr. Thompson at once set to work to raise funds for the building. Half the amount required (6580 Rupees) was raised within a few months, and the foundation-stone of the Museum was laid by Miss Nora Twynam on the 22nd of March, 1918.

William Holloway Twynam (1775 to 1821)

William Holloway Twynam served as purser aboard HMS Childers (16 guns) at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). From 1819 to his death he served aboard HMS Liverpool (50 guns). His tombstone, in the Esplanade Burial Ground, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, reads:

To the memory of Mr William Twynam, Purser late of H.M.S. Liverpool. Died June 2nd 1821 aged 46 years. He was faithful and upright in his public capacity and his excellent private qualities have obtained this record of affection and regard.

Chris Hyatt-Twynam (1957-)

Born in Ramsgate, Kent,moved to Tonbridge as a baby. Went to Skinners School in Tunbridge Wells, then graduated from University College with a degree in Civil Engineering. He worked for Sevenoaks Council for one year then joined his father's retail business, Road Radio, were he stayed for 25 years running the business himself for 15 years. He has now retired and is doing odd jobs as a handyman. Married with one son, Sam.

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