Ellysmere History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Ellysmere family

The surname Ellysmere 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 Ellysmere family

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

Ellysmere Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Ellysmere include Ellesmere, Ellismere, Ellasmere, Ellysmere and others.

Early Notables of the Ellysmere family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Ellysmere family

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Ellysmere or a variant listed above: 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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