Hallifax History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hallifax is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived in Halifax, a place in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The place-name was spelled Halyfax in 1095 and is probably derived from the Old English words halh, which meant "remote corner of land," and gefeaxe, which meant coarse grass. Collectively the place-name means "remote nook where the coarse grass grows." [1]

Early Origins of the Hallifax family

The surname Hallifax was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire where they claim descent from the distinguished Waterhouse family through a younger branch who adopted, about the 12th century, the name de Halifax, from the town they lived in. Early Yorkshire rolls listed: Jordan de Halifax in 1297; Judde de Halifax in 1309; and William de Halifax in 1382. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls included: Johannes Halyfax, laborer; and Margreta Halyfax. laborer. [3]

One source claims that the name is derived from "Holy Locks [Old English hálig, holy + f(e)ax, hair of the head]" and includes this interesting passage: "According to the old local legend the name has reference to the tresses of a maiden who was murdered by a priest. And travelling along by Heading-Halifax, Which Horton once was call'd, but of a Virgin's hair, (A martyr that was made, for chastity, that there Was by her lover slain) being fast'ned to a tree: The people that would needs it should a relique be, It Halifax since nam'd, which, in the Northern tongue, Is Holy Hair." [4]

Early History of the Hallifax family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hallifax research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1655, 1722, 1655, 1670, 1674, 1682, 1675, 1678, 1687, 1685, 1722, 1721 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Hallifax History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hallifax Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Hallifax family name include Hallifax, Halifax, Hallyfax, Halyfax and others.

Early Notables of the Hallifax family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Hallifax (1655?-1722), English divine, born at Springthorpe, Lincolnshire, about 1655, was the son of the Rev. John Hallifax. "On 20 Feb. 1670 he entered Brasenose College, Oxford, as a servitor, but was admitted a scholar of Corpus Christi College in April 1674, and a fellow in December 1682. He graduated...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hallifax Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Hallifax family

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Hallifax surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Lidia and Simon Halifax who settled in Barbados in 1675.


Contemporary Notables of the name Hallifax (post 1700) +

  • Sir Thomas Hallifax (1721-1789), English politician, Lord Mayor of London, third son of John Hallifax, a clockmaker, of Barnsley [5]
  • Samuel Hallifax (1733-1790), English divine, bishop successively of Gloucester and St. Asaph, born at Mansfield on 8 Jan. 1733, was eldest son of Robert Hallifax, apothecary, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire [5]


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  5. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020


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