Show ContentsDredge History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Dredge is an ancient name dating from the times of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It was a name for a person who was a a fierce, powerful person. The surname Dredge is derived from the Old English word draca or from the Old Danish word draki, which both mean dragon. [1]

The name is "not from the waterfowl, but from Anglo-Saxon draca (Latin draco,) a dragon. Le Dragun, the Anglo-Norman form, occurs in the Hundredorum Rolls, but the nearest approach to this that I have seen in modem times is Drago, a name which existed at Ely about a century since. Several families of Drake bear as arms the wyvern, or two-legged dragon; and it is worthy of remark that in giving to various pieces of cannon the names of monsters and animals of prey, that of ' drake' was assigned to a peculiar species of gun, as those of caliver, basilisk, culverin, fawconet, saker-all appellations of serpents and rapacious birds-were to others. The compounds, "fire-drake," and "hell-drake," become intelligible when the latter syllable is understood to mean, not the harmless and familiar denizen of the pool, but the ' fell dragoun ' of medieval romance. " [2]

"The drake gules (red) was the cognizance of the ancient family of Drake of Ashe, near Axminster. In this instance it is probable that the armorial bearing was occasioned by the name, and that some legend lay behind the name. Sir Francis Drake, the navigator, assumed the arms, though he could establish no relationship, and a contest of words ensued in the presence of Queen Elizabeth between Sir Bernard Drake of Ashe and the sailor.

'Well,' said the Queen, 'I will settle the dispute. Sir Francis shall bear on his coat a ship carrying reversed on its flag the wyvern gules.'

Eventually, unwilling to mortify so worthy a man as Sir Bernard, she granted to Sir Francis an entirely different coat." [3]

Early Origins of the Dredge family

The surname Dredge was first found in Hampshire where they held a family seat from ancient times. The surname comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "draca" which means a dragon or sea serpent. Soon after the Norman invasion in 1066 the name made its appearance in the Isle of Wight and Hampshire area in the south of England.

Leuing Drache, who spelled his name with an early Norman variant, held land in Hampshire at this time.

The parish of Musbury, Devon played an important part in the family's early lineage. "This place was the residence of the Drake family, from the time of Henry VII., for several generations. The church is a very ancient structure, with a south aisle added towards the close of the fifteenth century, by the Drake family, to whom it contains some monuments. Ash House, now occupied as a farmhouse, derives interest from having been the birthplace, in 1650, of the renowned Duke of Marlborough, whose mother was then on a visit to her father, Sir John Drake." [4]

And over in Yarcombe, again in Devon, another branch of the family was found. "It comprises about 5000 acres, and is the property of Sir H. F. T. S. Drake, to whose ancestor, Sir Francis, one moiety of the manor was granted by Queen Elizabeth." [4]

The famed Sir Francis Drake held estates in the parish of Meavy in Devon and remains of his ancient mansion can still be seen today. [4] "It was from Plymouth that Drake sailed in 1572 on his expedition to Nombre de Dios. When he returned one Sunday in August in the following year, the news reached St. Andrew Church while the people were assembled in worship, and straightway the preacher was deserted and the good folks ran to the seaside to welcome their hero home." [5]

Early History of the Dredge family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dredge research. Another 210 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1205, 1273, 1303, 1581, 1581, 1660, 1700, 1540, 1596, 1588, 1637, 1625, 1629, 1617, 1662, 1646, 1662, 1608, 1669, 1625, 1669, 1660 and are included under the topic Early Dredge History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dredge Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Dredge include Drake, Drakes, Draike, Drayke, Draykes, Draikes and others.

Early Notables of the Dredge family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral (1540-1596), an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, a renowned pirate, and politician, according to Forbes, he was the second highest earning pirate who had a wealth of over 115 million in today's dollars; Sir Francis Drake, 1st Baronet (1588-1637), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in two parliaments between...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dredge Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Dredge family to Ireland

Some of the Dredge family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Dredge migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Dredge were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Dredge Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Annie Marie Dredge, aged 23, who landed in America from Salisbury, England, in 1909
  • Ernest D. J. Dredge, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States from Leeds, England, in 1909
  • Evelyn Dredge, aged 35, who settled in America from Huntingdon, England, in 1910
  • Joseph Dredge, aged 37, who landed in America from Huntingdon, England, in 1910
  • Edith May Dredge, aged 15, who landed in America from Kidderminster, England, in 1919
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Dredge migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Dredge Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • James Herbert Dredge, aged 35, who settled in Brantford, Canada, in 1910

Australia Dredge migration to Australia +

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

Dredge Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Dredge, English convict who was convicted in Wiltshire, England for life for house breaking, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [6]
  • Peter Dredge, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John" in 1840 [7]
  • Sophia Dredge, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John" in 1840 [7]
  • Paul Dredge, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John" in 1840 [7]
  • Mr. James Dredge, English convict who was convicted in Wells, Somerset, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [8]

New Zealand Dredge 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:

Dredge Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Dredge, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dredge (post 1700) +

  • Colin Herbert Dredge (b. 1954), English first-class cricketer for Somerset
  • James Dredge Jr. (1840-1906), English civil engineer and journalist, co-editor of Engineering, a London-based monthly magazine, son of James Dredge Sr
  • James Dredge Sr. (1794-1863), English civil engineer, architect and brewer, best known for his designs of over 50 bridges including Victoria Bridge in Bath in 1836
  • James Dredge (1796-1846), English Wesleyan Methodist preacher
  • Bradley Dredge (b. 1973), Welsh professional golfer

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Joseph Allan Dredge, English 1st Class Passenger residing in Belize, British Honduras going to Liverpool, England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and died in the sinking [10]
  • Mrs. Evelyn Dredge, English 1st Class Passenger residing in Belize, British Honduras going to Liverpool, England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and died in the sinking [10]

The Dredge 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: Aquila non captat muscas
Motto Translation: The eagle is no fly-catcher.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Baring-Gould S., Family Names and their Story. London: Seeley, Service & Co. Limited, 1913. Print
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOHN from London 1840. Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 7th November 2010). Retrieved from
  10. Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from on Facebook