Occurrences of Woodhursts

Home Page Names Directory

Numbers and Distribution

Woodhurst is a quite rare name - the UK Census of 1881 mentions only about 74 Woodhursts in the whole of England, the majority of whom were born in London, Sussex or Kent. Even the IGI contains little more than a hundred Woodhurst entries, and these are again overwhelmingly concentrated in those three areas. However, the earliest of these entries, relating to the 1590s, emanate from the tiny village of Lapworth in the county of Warwickshire. The total number of registered Woodhurst births in England and Wales from 1837 up to 1900 is just 166. Of these, 87 occurred in London, 38 in Sussex and 27 in Kent - together accounting for 92% of the total. In fact, no UK-born Woodhursts have yet been been found living in, or originating from, regions of the UK other than England.

Of the 166 Woodhursts whose births were registered from 1837 up to 1900, about one quarter died in their infancy or early childhood.

Kent appears to have been an important early source of Woodhursts. Although greater numbers were born in London, most of them originated from Kentish ancestors. However, even in Kent they were originally quite rare - the total number of parish records of Woodhurst marriages (including close variants of the name) found so far in Kent genealogists' indexes for 1754 to 1837 is just 18.

There are several surnames that can be considered variant spellings of Woodhurst. They include Woodus, Wooders, Woodust, Woodurst, Wadhurst, Woodherst, Wodehouse and Woodhouse, and a few Woodhursts have even been found listed under Woodham and Woodhams. It is not possible to gauge the extent to which documentary references to such variants pertain to independent lineages or are merely the results of confusion over spelling when the original records were made. It is fairly common, however, to find families who were - and had long been - unequivocally Woodhursts but for whom some records used one or other of these variants. An instance of the opposite case is found in respect of Andrew (3) Woodus: his family surname had been recorded as Woodus for many decades until the early 1800s but was thereafter recorded as Woodhurst.

In North America the occurrence of Woodhursts is also small, being of roughly the same magnitude as in the UK. American Woodhurst records extend at least as far back as the 1840s, and all of them appear to relate to UK emigrants or their descendants.

The number of male Woodhursts listed in the online Electoral Register for England in the year 2000 was at most 37, and the number of females (most of whom had merely married into the name) was at most 47. In total, these amounted to barely more than the total of 74 Woodhursts listed nearly 120 years earlier in the 1881 Census.