Ellismere History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Ellismere family

The surname Ellismere 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 Ellismere family

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

Ellismere 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 Ellismere include Ellesmere, Ellismere, Ellasmere, Ellysmere and others.

Early Notables of the Ellismere family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Ellismere family

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 Ellismere were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: settlers, who arrived along the eastern seaboard, from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands.



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


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