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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Wakefield family come from? What is the English Wakefield family crest and coat of arms? When did the Wakefield family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Wakefield family history?

The name Wakefield has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived at Wakefield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. However, the surname Wakefield is occasionally derived from another settlement by the ame name in Northumberland. The surname Wakefield belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Wakefield have been found, including Wakefield, Wakefeild and others.

First found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times. Wachefeld being King William's land, which included in 1066 two churches. One of the more interesting first mentions of the name was Peter of Wakefield or Peter of Pontefract (died 1213), an English hermit. He prophesied that King John's crown would be passed to another by next Ascension Day, 23 May 1213. This prophecy spread throughout Britain, even to France. King John had him imprisoned and when the forecasted day came and went, had him gruesomely killed for vengeance.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wakefield research. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1375 and 1665 are included under the topic Early Wakefield History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Wakefield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Wakefield, or a variant listed above:

Wakefield Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Wakefield settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Anne Wakefield settled in Massachusetts with her husband in 1638
  • William Wakefield settled in Massachusetts in 1638
  • William Wakefield, who arrived in Hampton, NH in 1638
  • Thomas Wakefield settled in Virginia in 1663

Wakefield Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • John Wakefield, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1703

Wakefield Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • George Wakefield, aged 62, arrived in Connecticut in 1812
  • Nathaniel Wakefield, who arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817
  • Francis Wakefield, who landed in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817
  • Robert Wakefield, who landed in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817
  • Melville F Wakefield, who landed in Colorado in 1883


  • Timothy Stephen "Tim" Wakefield (b. 1966), American retired Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Gilbert Wakefield (1756-1801), English scholar
  • Edward Wakefield (1774-1854), English philanthropist and statistician
  • Gilbert Wakefield (1756-1801), English scholar and controversialist, best known for his "Wakefield's New Testament"
  • Elsie Maud Wakefield (1886-1972), English mycologist and plant pathologist
  • Joshua John C. "Josh" Wakefield (b. 1993), English footballer
  • Charles Cheers Wakefield (1859-1941), 1st Baron Wakefield, Viscount Wakefield, founder of the Wakefield Oil Company, later renamed Castrol
  • Daniel Bell Wakefield (1798-1858), New Zealand Attorney-General
  • Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796-1862), British politician, leader in the early colonization of South Australia and New Zealand
  • Colonel William Hayward Wakefield (1801-1848), English colonel who coloniozed New Zealand founded the city of Wellington



The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Arudua vinco
Motto Translation: I conquer difficulties.


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  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  11. ...

The Wakefield Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wakefield Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 2 April 2014 at 11:04.

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