Malins/Malings - A Deddington Family

By Jon Malings of Carnagh, County Wexford, Ireland

January 2010

 Malings is a very uncommon English surname, although it is derived from the relatively more common Malins (earlier Malyns/Malens/Mealings etc.) which was wide spread across Warwickshire, Worcestershire  and North Oxfordshire in the 18th and 19th  centuries.  Importantly, it is pronounce MAY-LINGS, or MEE – LINGS if you say it with a Gloucestershire accent.  The “g” in Malings seems to have been optional but gained popularity in Deddington for some reason.  Most other villages, apart from Stow and Yarnton, stuck resolutely with Malins.

There are several theories as to how the name originated, the most popular being that it is derived from the Flanders town of Mechelin or Malines.  Another is that it is a diminuitive of the name Mary, or Molly.  There’s possibly some truth in this as the MAL root is not uncommon across Europe, e.g MALLE, MALINOV, MALINOWSKI etc.
My favourite (because I invented it!) is that it comes from the heraldic symbol for a 9th son which is a “Cross Moline”.  This is an equal armed cross where the end of each arm is splayed into two, rather like the ends of some of the metal-work hinges you see on very old doors.  The Cross Moline appears on the coats of arms of several early Malens familes.  I suspect that it’s just an heraldic pun rather than implying a 9th son but it’s a nice idea.  

18th and 19th Centuries.

There were three almost unrelated groups of Malin(g)s families in Deddington during this time:

William Malins of Tysoe who arrived in Deddington in 1701 when he married Frances Welman - this is the branch I am directly descended from and about whom my research is mainly focused.

John Malins who married Elizabeth Emberlin in 1775 was, I think, very distantly related to William of Tysoe.  This family didn’t really settle in Deddington till the late 18th/early 19th century.  Elizabeth was connected to the Emberlins at the  paper mill and some of this Malins family  worked there in the first half of the 19th century.  John Malins of Philcock Street, shoemaker (1807-c.1881) is also a member of this family group.

Isaac Malins came from Chipping Norton, where there was another group of Malins. He married Elizabeth Phillips (from Birmingham) in Deddington in 1827.  They had 5 children but none of them seemed to stay in Deddington long term.

20th Century

As far as I know, by 1910 there were no Malin(g)s left in Deddington.  Leslie Malings, son of William John Malings (born 1852), was born in Wiltshire in 1910, but did return and married Kathleen Cowley in the parish church in 1940.  He is recorded on DOL as being a bell ringer and the choir master in the church in 1930. Leslie later moved to Cardiff where he died in the 1980s but his widow Kathleen still lives in Rhoose, Cardiff. Ken Hart, who is a great grandson of Robert Malings (b 1839), was born in Banbury and came to live in Deddington in 1985 and therefore maintains a family presence. 


Much of these narratives are based on more than 250 newspaper references to the Malings family that appear in Jackson’s Oxford Journal.  From minor notes about attendances at vestry meetings, through flower show prizes and performances at penny readings to court cases and after dinner speeches the Journal provides a wonderful source of gossip and family news across the 19th century.  This material, which is available online through the British Library and local library services, is a wonderful resource for anyone looking at the history of Deddington and the people who lived here.

I have also drawn material from Brian Carter’s Printers and Publishers in Deddington  which provided much of the detail about Joseph Edward Malings antivaccination stance.  I’ve also taken extracts from the diaries of the Rev. William Cotton Risley.

I would like to acknowledge all  the help I’ve received  from many other “family tree” addicts, including (though not exclusively) my sister Sue Malings, John Arthur Malings in Queensland, Peter Fewson (The Fardon family), Lizzie Church (The Hone family),  Derek Spragget (the Ayriss family) and all the people who contribute to the “Banburyshire” mailing list at

I would also like to thank Auste Mickunaite of the British Library for granting permission to use copyrighted images  from Jackson’s Oxford Journal and other 19th century newspapers.

I would be delighted to hear from anyone who has more information about my family or to receive comments, corrections or criticisms on my research so far. Genealogy is not an  exact science so I am always happy to hear by email ( where I have gone wrong.

© Jon Malings 2009