Colchester History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Colchester surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived in Colchester, in Essex. The family name is taken from the place-name. However, there are no records of anyone named Colchester in that county. There are scant records extant on this family; they first appear in London in the 17th century. However, there is little doubt that the name is derived from the place-name in Essex.

Early Origins of the Colchester family

The surname Colchester was first found in Essex at Colchester, a borough and market-town, in the Colchester division of the hundred of Lexden.

"This place, which by some antiquaries is supposed to have been the Camalodunum of the Romans, derives its name either from its having been one of the Coloniæ established by that people in Britain, or from its situation on the river Colne. It was called by the Britons Caer Colun, and appears to have been a town of considerable importance prior to the invasion of the Romans." [1]

However, we must look to Scotland to find the first listing of the family; for it is there that "William de Collecester, canon (probably of Holyrood), witnessed an Inchcolm charter, a. 1199. An Englishman, probably, from Colchester." [2]

Peter d Colechurch (d. 1205), was "architect of old London Bridge, chaplain of St. Mary Colechurch. The first stone bridge over the Thames was begun by him in 1176. He died in 1205, and was buried in the chapel on the bridge dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury." [3]

Early History of the Colchester family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colchester research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Colchester History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colchester Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Colchester include Colchester, Colechester and others.

Early Notables of the Colchester family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Colchester Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Colchester migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Colchester Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Joan Colchester, aged 23, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • Jone Colchester, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [4]
  • Anne Colchester who settled in Virginia in 1637 with her two sisters Jane and Joan
  • Ann Colchester, who landed in Virginia in 1658 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Colchester (post 1700) +

  • Charles Abbot Colchester (1757-1829), English jurist
  • Trevor Colchester, Secretary of Legal Associations
  • Rev. Halsey Colchester,


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ 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)


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