Cleaves History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Cleaves is derived from the Old English word "clif," which means cliff, rock, or steep descent. It is thought to have been a name used for someone who lived near a sloping cliff or the bank of a river. As such, the surname Cleaves belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Cleaves family

The surname Cleaves was first found in Shropshire and Cheshire. The latter county "in the hundred of Northwich, is Clive, from whence their ancestor Warin assumed his name in the time of Henry II. About the reign of Edward II the family removed to Huxley, also in Cheshire, Henry de Clive having married the co-heiress. " [1]

The Shropshire branch claim descent from the village and civil parish so named. "James Clive with the heiress of Styche, of Styche, they settled in Shropshire at that place, which is in the parish of Moreton-Say, and has remained uninterruptedly in the Clive family." [1]

Henry de Cliff (d. 1334), the English judge, "is first mentioned as accompanying the king abroad in May 1313; and on 11 May 1317, as a master in chancery, he had charge of the great seal at the house of the Lord Chancellor, John de Sandale, Bishop of Winchester. There is another master in chancery in Edward II's reign of the same name, probably a brother. " [2]

Early History of the Cleaves family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cleaves research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1725, 1774, 1767, 1558, 1514, 1522, 1523, 1522, 1529, 1526, 1532, 1711, 1728, 1729, 1731 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Cleaves History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cleaves Spelling Variations

The Welsh have an extremely large amount of spelling variations of their native surnames to their credit. The priest or the scribe taking the official records determined how the spoken name was to be made literal. As time progressed, the old Brythonic names of Wales were recorded in English, which was especially problematic since the English language had extreme difficulty recording the highly inflected sounds of Cymraeg. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Cleaves have included Cliffe, Cliff, Clive, Cleeves, Cleave, Cleaves and many more.

Early Notables of the Cleaves family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was William Clyffe (d. 1558), English divine, educated at Cambridge, where he graduated LL.B. in 1514, was admitted advocate at Doctors' Commons on 16 Dec. 1522, graduated LL.D. in 1523, was commissary of the diocese of London between 1522 and 1529. In 1526, he was appointed Archdeacon of London and three years later, Prebendary of Fenton in the church of York in 1532. [2] Catherine Clive, daughter of William Raftor, an Irish gentleman, was born in London in 1711. Displaying a natural aptitude for...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cleaves Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cleaves Ranking

In the United States, the name Cleaves is the 9,354th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

United States Cleaves migration to the United States +

Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North America. Like the Irish and Scottish, many Welsh anxiously awaited the work, freedom, and opportunities that they believed lay in North America. Those who did journey over to the United States and what became known as Canada often realized those dreams, but only through much toil and perseverance. Whenever and however these Welsh immigrants arrived in North America, they were instrumental in the creation of the industry, commerce, and cultural heritage within those two developing nations. In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Cleaves were found:

Cleaves Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Cleaves who settled in Virginia in 1653

Canada Cleaves migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cleaves Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Cleaves U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 member of the Cape Ann Association [4]
  • Mr. Nathan Cleaves U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 member of the Cape Ann Association [4]
  • Mr. Robert Cleaves U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 member of the Cape Ann Association [4]

Australia Cleaves migration to Australia +

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

Cleaves Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Jane Cleaves, aged 26, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Samuel Boddington" [5]
  • Jane Cleaves, aged 26, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Samuel Boddington" in 1849 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cleaves (post 1700) +

  • Francis Woodman Cleaves (1911-1995), American writer, historian and professor at Harvard University, best known for translating The Secret History of the Mongols
  • Harold H. Cleaves, American Master of the USNS Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell during Operation Deepfreeze 1964–1965, eponym of Cleaves Glacier, Antarctica
  • Henry Bradstreet Cleaves (1840-1912), American politician, 43rd Governor of Maine, Attorney General of Maine (1880–1885)
  • Jessica Cleaves (b. 1948), American singer and songwriter, former lead singer for The Friends of Distinction in the 1960s
  • Slaid Cleaves (b. 1964), American singer-songwriter
  • Mateen Ahmad Cleaves (b. 1977), American former professional NBA basketball player

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Samuel Cleaves, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [6]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Thomas Henry Cleaves, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [7]

The Cleaves 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: In cruce glorior
Motto Translation: I glory in the cross.

  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^
  4. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SAMUEL BODDINGTON 1849. Retrieved from
  6. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from
  7. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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