Show ContentsErdeacon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Erdeacon was brought to England by the Normans when they conquered the island in 1066. It is a name for a person who held the religious office of Arch Deacon. [1]

"An eminent Cornish family in the XIV. cent. wrote themselves Archdekne. The cognate name Archidiacre occurs in France, from which country the English family would appear to have migrated, since three cheverons form the main feature of the arms of both families, as well as of another English family named Archidecknie." [2]

Early Origins of the Erdeacon family

The surname Erdeacon was first found in the counties of Cornwall and Devon where they settled soon after the Norman Conquest of England by Duke William of Normandy in 1066 A.D. In Normandy, the family name was Archidiace, which seriously questions the popular concept that the family name is derived from the office of Archdeacon.

"The manor called Bodwen, [in Helland, Cornwall] was held at an early period by the family of Archdekne, under the prior of Bodmin, as connected with his large manor of Rialton. This passed from the Archdeknes to the Courtenays, in marriage with an heiress of the former family." [3]

The manor of Landegy, in the parish of Kea, Cornwall "belonged at a very early period to the family of the Archdeknes, for so early as the reign of Edward II. From this family it passed by female heirs to the Courtnays and Carews." [3]

"In the year 1335, a market was granted to John Archdekne, to be held at a place called Shepestall, which some have supposed to have been in this parish; and when Thomas Archdekne was summoned to parliament in the reign of Edward I. he is described as of Shepestall. It is well known that this ancient family had their residence and also considerable possessions in this parish; and a field not far from its borders still bears the name of Little Shepestall; but the name of the ancient seat seems to have been forgotten." [3]

William de le Archdeacon was listed in Norfolk in early times [4] and the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1370 listed Johannes Archedeken et uxor. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Thomas le Arsdekene, Hertfordshire; and Adam Ercedekne, Suffolk. [1]

Early History of the Erdeacon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Erdeacon research. Another 84 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1619 and 1690 are included under the topic Early Erdeacon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Erdeacon Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Archdeacon, Archdekin, Archdekyne, Arcedeckne, Archdecon, Archdicken, Ercadkne, Erchdeacon, Erchdekine, Archdeakin and many more.

Early Notables of the Erdeacon family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Erdeacon family to Ireland

Some of the Erdeacon family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 91 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Erdeacon family

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Erdeacon name or one of its variants: William Archdeacon who arrived in Maryland in 1741; John Archdeacon in Pennsylvania in 1772; and Dennis Archdeacon in Philadelphia in 1851; Kathryn Arch-deacon landed in America in 1704.



  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print


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