Exeter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The Anglo-Saxon name Exeter comes from when the family resided in Exeter, a town in Devon. The town of Exeter has been around for a very long time; it was first listed in Roman records as Iska c. 150. Documents dated around AD 900 call it Exanceaster. In the Domesday Book (1086), it was called Execestre. The place-name is derived from the Celtic word exe, which means water, and the Old English word ceaster, which meant Roman fort. The Romans first invaded the British Isles in AD 44, landing at Thanet and soon subduing all of the English tribes. They remained in control for two or three centuries, leaving an indelible mark upon the face of England. Town names like Bath are directly attributable to the period of Roman occupation, and it was uncommon but not rare for someone to stumble over remains of the Roman occupation in medieval England.

Early Origins of the Exeter family

The surname Exeter was first found in Devon, at the historic city of Exeter, the home of Rougemont Castle who many believe was ordered to be built by William the Conqueror after the city led a revolt of his authority in 1068. After 18 days of siege, this city finally surrendered and sore an oath not to harm the city or increase its ancient tribute.

Important Dates for the Exeter family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Exeter research. Another 53 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 119 and 1190 are included under the topic Early Exeter History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Exeter Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Exeter has been recorded under many different variations, including Hexter, Hexeter, Exeter, Exter and others.

Early Notables of the Exeter family (pre 1700)

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

Exeter migration to the United States

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Exeter or a variant listed above:

Exeter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliza Exeter, who arrived in Virginia in 1706 [1]
  • Susan Exeter, who landed in Virginia in 1706 [1]
  • Susanna Exeter, who arrived in Virginia in 1712 [1]

Exeter 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:

Exeter Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Exeter, aged 26, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Exeter (post 1700)

    Historic Events for the Exeter family

    HMS Prince of Wales

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    1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
    2. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
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