Fleet History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Fleet date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence near a creek, perhaps with a wood nearby. Fleet is derived from the Old English word fleot, for a rapidly rushing stream. The suffix "wood" was probably added to the name later. [1]

Early Origins of the Fleet family

The surname Fleet was first found in Lincolnshire at Fleet, a parish, in the union of Holbeach, hundred of Elloe, parts of Holland. [2] There are other villages and parishes named Fleet in Dorset and Hampshire, but this parish is the oldest as it was listed as Fleot in the Domesday Book of 1086. [3]

Fleet Street in London which is named after the River Fleet, London's largest underground river is probably the most famous use of the word "fleet." This street was the home of British national newspapers until the 1980s. Fleet Prison, built in 1197 was a notorious London prison adjacent to the River Fleet and was active until 1844 and later demolished in 1846.

As far as the surname is concerned, the first records were listed in Lincolnshire in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: John de Flete; Richard de Flet; and Laurence de Flete. [4]

Early History of the Fleet family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fleet research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1421, 1465, 1421, 1648, 1712, 1692, 1688, 1689, 1692 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Fleet History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fleet Spelling Variations

Fleet has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Fleet have been found, including Fleet, Fleete, Flete and others.

Early Notables of the Fleet family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Flete ( fl. 1421-1465), a Benedictine monk, prior of Westminster Abbey in the reign of Henry VI, and the author of a Latin chronicle of the early history of that foundation, entered the monastery of St. Peter's, Westminster, about 1421. [5] Sir John Fleet (1648-1712), the son of the innkeeper Richard...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fleet Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Fleet migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the First Fleets to arrive on North American shores:

Fleet Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Fleet, who landed in Virginia in 1646 [6]
  • John Fleet, who settled in Virginia in 1652
  • Henry Fleet, who arrived in Virginia in 1661 [6]
  • Fra Fleet, who arrived in Virginia in 1662 [6]
  • George Fleet, who landed in Virginia in 1665 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fleet Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Fleet, who arrived in New England in 1712 [6]
  • Elizabeth Fleet, who settled in Maryland in 1742
  • Mary Fleet, who arrived in America in 1765 [6]
  • Benjamin Fleet, who settled in Virginia in 1774

Australia Fleet migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the first fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Fleet Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Fleet, (b. 1791), aged 46, Scottish shoe maker who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years for assault, transported aboard the "Blenheim" on 11th March 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • John Fleet, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eden" in 1838 [8]
  • Richard Fleet, English convict from Shropshire, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • Mary Ann Fleet, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Phoebe" in 1846 [10]
  • William Fleet, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Phoebe" in 1846 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Fleet 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:

Fleet Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Fleet, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Harvey Fleet, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Edinburgh" in 1873
  • Joseph Fleet, aged 40, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cartvale" in 1874
  • Sarah Fleet, aged 39, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cartvale" in 1874
  • Jane Fleet, aged 7, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cartvale" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Fleet (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Fleet, American colonial printer, born in Shropshire, England
  • Charles Browne Fleet (1843-1916), American pharmacist and inventor of the laxative and the product "Chapstick"
  • John Fleet, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Queens County, 1811-14 [11]
  • D. W. Fleet, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Washington, 1920 [11]
  • Clifton S. Fleet, American politician, Mayor of Tenafly, New Jersey, 1954 [11]
  • Vernon W. Von Fleet, American Republican politician, Member, Federal Trade Commission, 1922-26; chair, Federal Trade Commission, 1924-25 [12]
  • William C. Van Fleet, American Republican politician, Member of California State Assembly 18th District, 1881-83; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1888 [12]
  • Vernon W. Van Fleet, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1916 [12]
  • Henry T. Van Fleet, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Ohio, 1884; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1888 [12]
  • David Van Fleet, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Hunterdon County, 1848-49 [12]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. John Edward  Fleet (1893-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Frederick Fleet, aged 24, English Lookout from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 6 [14]


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blenheim
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) EDEN 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Eden.htm
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anson voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1843 with 499 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/anson/1843
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PHEOBE/PHOEBE 1845. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Phoebe.htm
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  13. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  14. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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