Henry Tew, father of Richard Tew, of Newport, R. I. lived at Maidford, Northampton Co., England, and it was there Richard Tew married Mary Clarke. as the following instrument, recorded in Rhode Island, in Book I. Land Evidences, Sec v of State Office, shows "this indenture, made the ??th day of Oct. in the 9th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, Charles of England and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Between Henry Tew, of Maidford, County of Northampton, Eng., Yeoman, and William Clarke, of Prior Hardwick, Co. of Warwick, Eng., Yoeman witnesseth : That for and in consideration of a marriage by the grace of God, shortly to be had and solemnized between Richard Tew, son and heir apparent of said Henry and Mary Clarke. one of the daughters of said William Clarke, etc., etc." Then follows an engagement entered into by Henry Texv, to make ox-er on his part. to his son Richard, houses, barns, tenements. etc.
The Origins of the TEW Name and Family.
The name TEW is of great antiquity and its roots go back to Anglo-Saxon times. According to Professor Ekwell it probably appeared as an Old English word TIEWE which is known to have existed as an element in compound words [e.g. manigtiewe = skilful]. He deduces that TIEWE may have meant a lengthy object, and to have been adopted as the name given to a ridge of land in North West Oxfordshire. In time the name would have been transferred from the feature of the landscape itself to the settlements that became established upon it, and which today are the villages of Great Tew, Little Tew and Duns Tew.
I have a theory that the surname Tew is connected with the Anglo-Saxon god Tiw. This whole area needs some research, and unfortunately relatively little is known about the Anglo-Saxon gods. I do know that he was represented by the runic character, which was traditionally carved on weapons to ensure victory. What I do know about Tiw can be seen on my page to the Anglo-Saxon gods.
According to Charles Whynne-Hammond in Tracing the History of Place-Names, under the entry for Great Tew in Oxfordshire, he says: This name was just Tiwan or Teowe during the 11th Century. It has various possible origins. Either it comes from tig meaning a meeting place; or from teohh meaning 'race' or 'troop'; or from taewe meaning 'good health' or 'excellent'; or finally from tiew meaning a 'row' or 'ridge'. Each is possible: the village was a moot centre for tribes, is situated on fertile soil and is close to a long narrow hillock. In the 12th Century documents recorded Tiwa Magna and Parva Tiwe (now Great and Little Tew) together with Dunnestywa (now Duns Tew) which was owned by a person called Dunn.
However, on page 68 of the same book, when talking about the names of the pagan gods, he says that some of these gods can be found also in our place-names: Tiw occurs in 'Tewin'.... Could Great Tew not have the same derivation? To be continued...
By the end of the Anglo-Saxon period the place name appeared in a will of 1004 as TIWAN, while in Domesday  the villages are recorded as both TEOWE and TEWE. In a pipe roll of 1130 we find TIW and TIWE, and in another of 1156 there is a TIWA MAGNA [Great Tew]. In a curia regis roll of 1207 there appears PARVA TIWE [Little Tew], then in the Calendar of Charters and Rolls at the Bodleian c.1200 there is DONESTIVA, while in an episcopal roll of 1232 DUNNESTYWA [both Duns Tew].
It was in the two centuries after the Norman Conquest that secondary names came into use, eventually to be inherited as family names. We might expect, therefore, that a family living in or near the villages to take TEW as their family name some time in these two centuries. Fortunately for us a record of such a family exists and is noted in the Victoria County History for Oxfordshire.
During the reign of Henry I [1100-1135] a Joibert de Tiw held lands in Duns Tew and Adderbury. He probably died without sons as he was succeeded by his brother Hugh who is mentioned in 1130 and 1142. These lands passed to Hugh's son Walter who was holding them in 1166, while in 1170 both he and his nephew Henry of Tew occupied lands at Hempton. The Adderbury lands passed to Walter's son Hugh who was dead by 1204 and so to another son Walter known to be living in 1218. The next in line was this Walter's eldest son, another Hugh, whose main claim to fame is that in 1248 he was pardoned for the murder of Laurence, Archdeacon of York: he was still alive in 1253. It was probably Hugh's brother who was the Walter appointed bailiff of the manor of Bloxham Beauchamp in 1236. Hugh was succeeded in Adderbury by his son, yet another Hugh, who, when he died in 1284, was succeeded by three married daughters between whom the manor was divided.
It is unlikely, therefore, that the "senior" line died out with the last Hugh who seems to have left daughters only, but "junior" lines almost certainly would have continued, from younger but unrecorded sons of earlier holders of the manor and perhaps from Henry of Hempton and Walter of Bloxham.
Details of individuals are very sparse during the next two and a half centuries, but a Ralph Tewe, a city merchant, was one of two representatives for Coventry summoned to Parliament in 1302. A similar name occurs in the same period as the East Window of Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire, contains 14th C. glass in which appears the figure of Canon Ralph de Tew. In the 15th C. Lincoln College, Oxford, was founded in 1427 by Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln. Various plots of land were purchased for this purpose including a 'messuage called Deep Hall' belonging to the Hospital of St John the Baptist [later Magdalen College] which was sold by the master, Richard Tew, to Fleming's agents on 20th June 1430. Around the same time a W--- Tewe is recorded as holding land at Neithrop, near Banbury, in 1441, and it is also recorded that part of the holding had previously been in the ownership of his grandfather.
It will be seen that members of the Tew family were still in close proximity to the point of origin some 150 years after the breaking up of the manor, and it is reasonable to assume that they were descendants of the first family. It is known that the W. Tew (perhaps another Walter?) of Neithrop occupied lands that had been held by his unnamed grandfather, and this latter
could well have been the great grandson of the last but one Hugh of Adderbury or of Walter of Bloxham, as well as the father of the Richard master of the Hospital of St. John. It is also a possibility that the W. Tew of Neithrop in 1441 was the father of a Henry Tew who died in Daventry in 1488.
The descent of the family in the 14th and early 15th centuries can, at this stage, only be a matter of conjecture, but obviouslythe family was expanding and moving from the point of origin. One branch, at least, had moved into Northamptonshire by the end of the 15th C. for a John Tew is recorded as being the incumbent of the parish of Collingtree, just south of the town of Northampton, during the reign of Henry VI (1422-71), and while on 14th August 1488 HENRY TEW of Daventry made his will mentioning his wife Elizabeth and daughter Agnes. JOHN TEW also of Daventry made his will on 9th July 1501 mentioning his wife Elizabeth and unnamed children. The relationship between the two Johns and between Henry and John of Daventry is a matter of speculation, but the latter were probably father and son. It is also a matter of speculation whether there is a direct connection between these two and the family shortly to become established some seven miles away in Eydon, but again it was possibly John's son who settled there.
The first known individual in Eydon, and the first from whom a descent can be traced with any degree of certainty is RICHARD TEW. His will is dated 27th February 1521/2 and mentions his wife who is not named and four sons, John the elder, John the younger, Nicholas and Thomas. A witness to the will is Thomas Tew the elder, probably Richard's brother. As one of the sons was an executor and another was to receive 'a quartern of land....he paying the rent...', they were likely to have been at least twenty years of age, which puts Richard's marriage at 1490 at the latest, and his birth date at c.1460.
It seems that Richard was a man of some substance for besides making a bequest to the 'mother church' of Lincoln, he made three separate bequests to the church in Eydon, as well as to the poor of the village: 'To every household in Eydon that hath no plough nor part of one a strike [a level measure] of corn'.
By: Alan Tew, 43 Chanctonbury Way, Woodside Park, London N12 7AA. Telephone 0181 445 5692.