Ellesmere History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Ellesmere family

The surname Ellesmere was first found in Shropshire at Ellesmere, a market-town and parish, and the head of a union. "This place derives its name from an adjoining lake or mere, which, being the largest of several in the neighbourhood, was distinguished by the appellation of Aelsmere, or the principal lake. It had at a very early period a strong castle, which in the reign of John was, with the manor, given in marriage with the natural daughter of that monarch to Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales." [1]

The family name was first referenced in the year 1377 when David Ellysmere held a family seat in Warwickshire. He is believed to have originated at Ellesmere in the county Salop (Shropshire.)

The Ellesmere Chaucer, or Ellesmere Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, is an early 15th-century illuminated manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, currently owned by the Huntington Library, in San Marino, California. It was originally owned by John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford (1408-1462), but passed on to Sir Thomas Egerton (1540-1617), Baron Ellesmere and Viscount Brackley and was so named from that period on.

Ellesmere Castle was a motte and bailey castle that was probably founded by Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury (died 1094.) The castle was destroyed in the English civil war, but today little can be seen of the former structure as the sides of the motte are covered by trees.

Early History of the Ellesmere family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ellesmere research. Another 61 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Ellesmere History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ellesmere 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 Ellesmere has undergone many spelling variations, including Ellesmere, Ellismere, Ellasmere, Ellysmere and others.

Early Notables of the Ellesmere family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Ellesmere family

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 Ellesmere were among those contributors: settlers, who arrived along the eastern seaboard, from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands.


Contemporary Notables of the name Ellesmere (post 1700) +

  • Dave Ellesmere (b. 1960), English drummer, from Southport, England, known for his work with UK punk bands including The Insane, Discharge, Doctor and the Crippens and Disgust


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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