Ferrers History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Ferrers was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Ferrers family lived in Staffordshire. The name, however, derives from the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Ferriers, in Gastonois, Normandy. Specifically, the place name comes from "ferrière," which refers to an "iron works." "Many of the coats-armours assigned to the name contain horse-shoes, and at Oakham in Rutlandshire, an ancient barony of the family, a custom prevails to this day of demanding a horse-shoe of every peer of the realm who passes through the town." [1] Another source clarifies that it was Walkelin de Ferrers who started this tradition shortly after he settled there after the Norman Conquest. [2]

Early Origins of the Ferrers family

The surname Ferrers was first found in Staffordshire, where Henry de Fereres of Ferriers-St. Hilaire, Lord of Longueville, Normandy was on record in the Domesday Book of 1086; his castle was at Tutbury, Staffordshire; he had large holdings in Derbyshire, as well as lands in 14 other counties. Other early records include a Henry le Ferrur on record in 1196 in the Curia Regis Rolls for that same county.

Said to be descendents of Henry de Feriers, the Norman Ferrers family held the earldom of Derby from 1138-1266 and "held 210 lordships in fourteen counties of England, besides the castle and borough of Tutbury, in Staffordshire, the principle seat of the earldom." [3]

However, not all the lordships and manors stayed with the family. "The manor [of Uttoxeter in Staffordshire] was granted by the Conqueror to Henry de Ferrers, Earl of Derby; and was forfeited to the crown, together with the other large estates of that family, by Earl Robert, in the reign of Henry III., and given to Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, the king's second son." [2]

And another example of the family losing an estate: "In the 36th of Henry III. the manor [of Wavertree in Lancashire] was granted to William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, from whom it reverted to the crown." [2]

And yet another branch of the family were well established at Wirksworth in Derbyshire in ancient times. "In the Domesday Book, Wirksworth is described as the property of the king, having a church, a priest, and three leadmines; and it remained in the crown until King John, in the fifth year of his reign, granted it to William de Ferrers, in whose family it continued till the attainder of his descendant, Robert, in the time of Henry III. By this monarch it was given in 1265 to his son, Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, and the manor has since that period constituted a part of the possessions of the duchy of Lancaster." [2]

Early History of the Ferrers family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ferrers research. Another 248 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1062, 1139, 1138, 1190, 1239, 1279, 1300, 1373, 1445, 1271, 1325, 1299, 1271, 1325, 1423, 1548, 1899, 1138, 1279, 1299, 1325, 1300, 1445, 1358, 1413, 1367, 1412, 1399, 1462, 1629, 1680 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Ferrers History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ferrers Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Ferrers have been found, including Ferrer, Ferrers, Ferers, Feres, Ferris, Ferres, Ferries, Ferras, Farris, Farriss, Faries, de Ferrers, Ferriers and many more.

Early Notables of the Ferrers family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was the ennobled families Ferrers, Earls of Derby (1138-1279); Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1299-1325); Lord Ferrers of Groby (1300-1445); Robert de Ferrers, 4th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1358-1413), inherited the title of Baron Ferrers of Chartley upon his father's death at the Battle of Nájera in 1367 but was...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ferrers Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ferrers family to Ireland

Some of the Ferrers family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Ferrers migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Ferrers were among those contributors:

Ferrers Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Ferrers, who arrived in Jamaica in 1675
Ferrers Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Ferrers was naturalized in New York in 1797
  • John Ferrers, who landed in New York in 1797 [4]
Ferrers Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Anne Ferrers, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1804
  • Francisco Ferrers, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1823 [4]
  • Jane Ann Ferrers, who arrived in New York, NY in 1843 [4]

New Zealand Ferrers 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:

Ferrers Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas John Ferrers, aged 21, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843

Contemporary Notables of the name Ferrers (post 1700) +

  • Laurence Shirley Ferrers (1720-1760), English criminal
  • Norman Macleod Ferrers (1829-1903), British mathematician
  • Sir Ralph Ferrers Vyvyan (b. 1960), 13th Baronet, High Sheriff of Cornwall (2008-2009)


The Ferrers Motto +

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: Splendio tritus
Motto Translation: I shine though worn.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ 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)


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