Cecilay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cecilay is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Cecilay family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Cecilay family lived in Devon. The name refers to the family's former place of residence, St Cecile, a Norman area of Flanders. [1]

Cecilia or Cecily (1469-1507), was "the third daughter of Edward IV, was born towards the end of 1469. At the age of five she was betrothed by proxy to James, the eldest son of James III of Scotland, and arrangements were soon made by which her dowry of twenty thousand marks should be paid by yearly installments. " [2]

Early Origins of the Cecilay family

The surname Cecilay was first found in Devon where they are "probably a branch of the Counts of Gand, whose arms (barry) it bears, with escutcheons charged with the lion rampant of Flanders. The arms are still borne in Flanders by a family of the same name." [1] Maurice de Cassel was probably one of the first to be listed in England during the reign of William I. His son, Robert de Kessel or Ciselle, assisted Robert Fitz-Hamon in the conquest of Glamorganshire in 1093. [1]

Another reference claims "the family, doubtless of Norman origin, can be traced to Robert Sitsilt, who in 1091 assisted Robert Fitz-Hamon in the conquest of Glamorganshire." [3] Conflicting data is quite common with early records such as these. Continuing on: "from his descendant [Robert Kessel or Robert Sitsilt] Walter de Alterens, living 1165, descended the noble house of Cecil." [1]

Further to the north, in St. Martin's in Northamptonshire a later branch of the family was found. "The church [of St. Martin's] is a handsome structure in the later English style, erected by a bishop of Lincoln in the fifteenth century, and contains monuments to several members of the Cecil family, including one to Lord Treasurer Burghley, whose ancient mansion in the immediate neighbourhood, Burghley House." [4]

Important Dates for the Cecilay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cecilay research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1379, 1520, 1598, 1550, 1553, 1558, 1572, 1572, 1563, 1612, 1591, 1668, 1605, 1612, 1657, 1640, 1653, 1648, 1683, 1660, 1668, 1666, 1694, 1670, 1716, 1701, 1674, 1721, 1712 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Cecilay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cecilay Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Cecil, Cecill, Cecyll, Cyssel, Cessell, Sitsilt, Sicelt, Seycil and many more.

Early Notables of the Cecilay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, KG (1520-1598), an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State (1550-1553) and (1558-1572) and Lord High Treasurer from 1572 until his death; Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC (ca. 1563-1612), an English administrator and politician; William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury, KG (1591-1668), known as Viscount Cranborne from 1605 to...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cecilay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Cecilay family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Cecilay or a variant listed above: John Cecill who settled in Barbados in 1663; William Cecill arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682; later Joseph Cecil arrived in New York in 1823; and Thomas Cecil arrived in Philadelphia in 1866..

Citations

  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. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
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