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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The ancient roots of the Heather family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Heather comes from when the family lived on a heath, which is an area of level, uncultivated land with poor, coarse, undrained soil and rich deposits of peat or peaty humus. The surname Heather belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.


The surname Heather was first found in Durham where it was first listed as Atte-Hethe, Apud Hethe and Del la Hethe in the Rotuli Hundredorum of 1279. [1] The name was denoted for someone who lived on or by a heath, typically filled with heather. [2]

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Heather has appeared include Heath, Hethe and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heather research. Another 159 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1575, 1649, 1501, 1578, 1629, 1664 and 1661 are included under the topic Early Heather History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 85 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heather Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Heather family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Heather arrived in North America very early:

Heather Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richd Heather, who arrived in Virginia in 1640
  • Edward Heather, aged 25, arrived in Barbados in 1683

Heather Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Heather, aged 20, landed in New York in 1812
  • John Heather, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County Pennsylvania in 1872

Heather Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Alfred Heather arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constant" in 1849

Heather Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • D H Heather landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr Heather landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Nimrod
  • Arthur Heather arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861


  • Scott Heather (b. 1975), American college baseball head coach of the Bucknell Bison
  • Sean Heather (b. 1982), English cricketer
  • Roy Heather (1935-2014), English television actor, known for his roles in Time Gentlemen Please (2000), Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) and Experience Preferred... But Not Essential (1982)
  • Adam Tom Heather (b. 1972), English professional cricketer from Manchester, Lancashire
  • William Kati "Smiley" Heather (b. 1958), Cook Islands politician, Deputy Leader of the Democratic party in 2012
  • Teariki William Heather (b. 1959), Deputy Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
  • Peter Heather (b. 1960), British historian of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Professor of Medieval History at King's College London
  • Larry R. Heather, Canadian political candidate for the Christian Heritage Party of Canada in Calgary, Alberta


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Espere mieux
Motto Translation: Hope for better.


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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)

Other References

  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  5. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  9. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Heather Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Heather Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 6 May 2016 at 08:43.

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