Show ContentsCave History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Cave name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in the settlement named Cave in the East Riding of Yorkshire; this area has become the county of Humberside in modern times. The name of this settlement is derived from the name of a nearby river, which in turn derived its name from the Old English word caf, which means swift. The surname Cave may also be a variation of the Anglo-Norman name Chaff, a nickname for a bald man. The derivation is from the Old French word chauf, which means bald.

In this latter case, the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae listed "Adelina de Cava, and John Cave of Normandy, 1180-95. Wyomar had a grant of Cave, Yorkshire, c. 1090, from Alan, Earl of Richmond and Margaret de Cave and Richard de Cave held from the Church of York c. 1140. The occurrence of the name in Normandy shows the origin of the family, though its name was derived from England." [1]

Early Origins of the Cave family

The surname Cave was first found in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northamptonshire. Stanford in Northamptonshire has a most interesting story about the family.

"Shortly after the Conquest, Guy de Reinbudcurt, one of the Norman companions of William, sold the lordship to Benedict, abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Selby, in Yorkshire. In 1471, John Cave died [as] vicar of Stanford, having, probably, been presented to the living by his brother, then abbot of Selby. After the Dissolution, the manor and advowson were granted by Henry VIII., for the sum of £1194. 3. 4., to Thomas Cave, Esq. The old manor-house of Stanford Hall was situated on the left bank of the Avon in this county; about 1680 it was pulled down by Sir Roger Cave, and a new building was commenced on the right bank, in the county of Leicester, which was completed in 1737. In the church is a series of monuments of the Caves, knights and baronets, commencing in 1558, and all in excellent preservation." [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: Roger de Cave in Lincolnshire; and Robert de Cave in Buckinghamshire. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Willelmus del Cave as living there and holding lands at that time. [3]

Early History of the Cave family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cave research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1568, 1637, 1655, 1657, 1679, 1680, 1681, 1685, 1690, 1691, 1703, 1705, 1713, 1719 and 1754 are included under the topic Early Cave History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cave Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Cave has undergone many spelling variations, including Cave, Cayve, Caive, Caves, Caives, Cayves, Cavey, Cavie, Cavy and many more.

Early Notables of the Cave family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • Sir Ambrose Cave (d. 1568), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, fourth son of Roger Cave of Stanford, Northamptonshire; Sir Thomas Cave, 1st Baronet; and his son, Sir Roger Cave, 2nd Baronet (1655-1...
  • John Cave (d. 1657), was an ejected clergyman, born at Pickwell in Leicestershire, and was the third son of John Cave, Esq. [4]
  • Edward Cave (1691-1754), was an English printer, "born at Newton, near Rugby, 27 Feb. 1691, the son of Joseph, a younger son of Edward Cave of the lone house on the Watling Street Road, called Cave's...

Cave World Ranking

In the United States, the name Cave is the 3,331st most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [5] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Cave is ranked the 606th most popular surname with an estimated 75 people with that name. [6] And in France, the name Cave is the 2,397th popular surname with an estimated 2,500 - 3,000 people with that name. [7] New Zealand ranks Cave as 890th with 824 people. [8]

United States Cave migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Cave were among those contributors:

Cave Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Richard Cave, aged 28, who arrived in Virginia in 1634 aboard the ship "Bonaventure" coming via St. Domingo [9]
  • Robert Cave, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [10]
  • Patrick Cave, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [10]
  • John Cave, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [10]
  • Patrick Cave, who settled in Virginia in 1639
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cave Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Cave, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1771
Cave Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Cave, who landed in Indiana in 1852 [10]

Canada Cave migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cave Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Benjamin Cave Jr. settled in Fogo, Newfoundland in 1803 [11]
  • Susannah Cave, who settled in Change Islands, Newfoundland in 1821 [11]
  • Thomas Cave of Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, settled there in 1833 [11]
  • Frank H C B Cave, who arrived in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862
  • G C B Cave, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Australia Cave migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cave Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Cave, English convict from Buckinghamshire, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [12]
  • Mr. Shadrach Cave, (Shadrack), (b. 1815), aged 22, English baker who was convicted in London, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Emma Eugenia" on 2nd November 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Richard Cave, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" in 1849 [14]
  • Mary Cave, aged 18, a general servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" [15]

New Zealand Cave migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Cave Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Louis Cave, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Matthew Beck Cave, aged 38, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Mary Cave, aged 37, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Frederick Cave, aged 13, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Matthew Cave, aged 2, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Cave migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [16]
Cave Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. John Cave, (b. 1601), aged 34, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Matthew" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [17]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cave (post 1700) +

  • Michael John "Micky" Cave (1949-1984), English football midfielder
  • Kathryn Cave (b. 1948), award-winning British children's book author
  • Nicholas Edward "Nick" Cave AO (b. 1957), Australian musician, songwriter, author, screenwriter, and occasional film actor
  • Colby Cave (1994-2020), Canadian professional ice hockey centre who played 67 games; he suffered a brain bleed due to a colloid cyst and died at the age of 25
  • Sir Stephen Cave GCB, PC, FSA, DL, JP (1820-1880), British lawyer, writer and Conservative politician, eldest son of Daniel Cave of Cleve Hill, near Bristol (d. 9 March 1872) [18]
  • Jean-Pierre Cave (1952-2017), French politician
  • Hugh Barnett Cave (1910-2004), British author
  • Brigadier-General James Cave Crockett (1888-1962), American Instructor Command & General Staff School (1939-1941) [19]

Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Freda Elizabeth  Cave (1908-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [20]
  • Master Alfred Elmer  Cave (1911-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [20]
  • Miss Nora Maud  Cave (1907-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [20]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Kenneth Cave, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and survived the sinking [21]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Herbert Cave (d. 1912), aged 34, English Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [22]

The Cave Motto +

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: Cave Deus videt
Motto Translation: Beware! God sees.

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  8. "Most Common Last Names in New Zealand." Forebears,
  9. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's Retrieved January 6th 2023, retrieved from
  10. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  11. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  12. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from
  13. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th March 2022).
  14. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The SIR EDWARD PARRY 1849. Retrieved from
  15. South Australian Register Monday 26th December 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Epaminondas 1853. Retrieved
  17. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021 from
  18. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 25 Nov. 2019
  19. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) James Crockett. Retrieved from
  20. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from
  21. HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from
  22. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook