Show ContentsHele History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Hele arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Hele family lived in Norfolk. The surname Heal was a topographic name indicating that its bearer lived in or near a nook or hollow. [1]

Early Origins of the Hele family

The surname Hele was first found in Devon where they held a manor in the parish of Bradninch. One of the first on record was Roger De la Heale who was lord of Heale, temp. Henry III. [2]

They were conjecturally descended from Erchenbald, who held the lands from the Count of Mortain, as recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. [3]

The first entry for the family was actually found in Hampshire. It was here that William de Lahela was listed in the Pipe Rolls for 1130.

A number of entries for the family were found in Somerset: John in the Hele; Edith atte Hele, Somerset; William in the Hele; and Edith in le Hele. All were listed 1 Edward III (in the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [4]

"Many more instances from the same record could be given. One thing is certain, the West country is the chief habitat of the surname." [5]"Hele and Heale are very common place-names in Devon, less frequent in Somerset, and occasionally noted in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Worcester and Surrey." [1]

Hele Elize Hele, of Wollaton, [Devon] bequeathed in 1635 the manor of Brixton Reigny and all his estates to charitable uses, and thus became the great school founder of his native county. It is a question whether the Heles really sprung from Hele near Bradninch, or Hele in Cornwood, where they can certainly be traced to the reign of Richard II. ; but the latter is probably a younger branch." [6]

Early History of the Hele family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hele research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1130, 1234, 1543, 1560, 1581, 1592, 1595, 1601, 1608, 1626, 1627, 1630, 1635, 1644, 1659, 1661, 1665 and 1670 are included under the topic Early Hele History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hele Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Heal, Heale, Heales, Hele and others.

Early Notables of the Hele family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Elize Hele or Elizeus Hele (1560-1635), an English lawyer and philanthropist, founder Hele's School, Devon; Sir Thomas Hele, 1st Baronet (c. 1595-1670), an English politician who sat in the House of C...
  • Sir John Hele (1543?-1608), was Serjeant-at-Law, of a Devonshire family, fourth son of Nicholas Hele, of South Hele, Devonshire, by his second wife, Margery, daughter of Richard Down of Holsworthy in...

United States Hele migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Hele or a variant listed above:

Hele Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Hele, who settled in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1635
  • William Hele, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1638 [7]
  • Nicholas Hele, who landed in Virginia in 1653 [7]
  • Tobyas Hele, who settled in Nevis in 1660
Hele Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Hele and child settled in Louisiana in 1721
  • Richard Hele, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1764
Hele Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Christian Hele, who settled in Philadelphia in 1876

Canada Hele migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Hele Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. E. C. Hele, (b. 1835), aged 20, Cornish settler, from Newquay, Cornwall, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, he survived the sinking [8]

Australia Hele migration to Australia +

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

Hele Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Hele, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [9]
  • Susan Hele, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [9]
  • John Hele, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [9]
  • Samuel Hele, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [9]
  • William Hele, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Hele (post 1700) +

  • Sir Ivor Henry Thomas Hele CBE (1912-1993), Australian war artist, five-time recipient of the Archibald Prize
  • George Alfred Hele (1891-1982), Australian cricket umpire from Adelaide who umpired 16 Test matches between 1928 and 1933
  • James Warwick Hele, High Master of St. Paul's School, London, England

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. 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. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  7. 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)
  8. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1839. Retrieved from on Facebook