This name AGNEW is of territorial origin from the Baronie d'Agneaux in the Bocages of Normandy. A Marquis d'Agneaux still owns portions of the ancestral fiefs, and the Chateau d'Agneaux still overlooks the valley of the Vire. In 1363 the Lochnaw family of the name were appointed hereditary sheriffs of Galloway by King David II and they gradually became great land-owners in the province, holding many estates. An Irish sept, the O'Gnives or O'Gneeves, hereditary bards to the Clannaboy O'Neils, Englished their name to Agnew, a change which has led some mistakenly to consider the Agnews to be of Irish origin. When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. An eminent member of the name is Spiro Theodore Agnew, born in 1918. He was the American Republican vice-president, born in Baltimore, son of a Greek immigrant. After service in World War II he graduated in law from Baltimore University (1947) and by 1966 was elected governor of Maryland. He was Nixon's running mate in the 1968 election, and took office in 1969.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Lochnaw, County Wigtown.
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