Heress History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Heress is a name whose history dates possibly as far back as 1066 when the Normans first arrived in Britain following their Conquest of the island. It was a name for a person who was the son of the ruler of the property upon which he lived. Initially, le Herisse, the name came to England with the Norman Conquest, and is of Old French derivation. Another derivation, which is probably more common shows that the name is a version of the Old English given name Harry. [1] Although both derivations are valid time has confused them and historians now disagree on which is appropriate in a given situation.

Early Origins of the Heress family

The surname Heress was first found in Normandy, where Hericius and his brothers were in 1022 prohibited by King Robert of France from making inroads of on the estates of a neighbouring abbey. "Henricus was father of Ancelin de Beaumont who in 1086 held a barony in Nottinghamshire. Ivo Fitz-Herice or De Heriz, his son was Viscount of Nottinghamshire before 1130." [2]

His sons quickly spread through Britain as seen by Robert Fitz-Herice who was mentioned in a charter of Barberie Abbey, executed by Henry II; Josceline Fitz-Herice mentioned in Huntingdonshire in 1156; and William who held two fees in Nottinghamshire and four in Lincolnshire in 1165. Humphrey Hairez was listed in Berkshire in 1158.

William Herez held an estate in Wiltshire in the 13th century and later one of his descendants held estates in Salisbury in 1469 and was ancestor of the Earls of Malmsbury who also have three herrisons on their arms. [2]

"Harris and Heris are armorially identified, each bearing three herissons (hedgehogs) in allusion to the name." [2]

"Wootton Hall [in Wooton, Northamptonshire], the seat of W. Harris, Esq., stands elevated, and commands extensive prospects: the grounds are surrounded with thriving plantations." [3]

"Radford, in Plymstock, [Devon] has been a seat of the Harris family for nearly 500 years. Here Ralegh is said to have been kept in ward on his return in 1618, and here at times Drake stored much of his treasure. " [4]

Early History of the Heress family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heress research. Another 158 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1080, 1600, 1483, 1399, 1581, 1658, 1588, 1658, 1680, 1596, 1649, 1628, 1644, 1650, 1686, 1671, 1685, 1631, 1677, 1661, 1677, 1666, 1719 and are included under the topic Early Heress History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Heress Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Heress include Harris, Harries, Harrys, Harryss, Haries, Haris, Hairis and many more.

Early Notables of the Heress family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John ap Harry of Poston in Vowchurch, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1399; Robert Harris (1581-1658), an English clergyman, known as a Puritan preacher, member of the Westminster Assembly, and President of Trinity College, Oxford; John Harris (Harrys) (c.1588-1658), an English academic and clergyman, Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, long-time Warden of Winchester College, and a member of the Westminster Assembly; Peter Harris (the elder) (died 1680), a British buccaneer, one of the captains...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heress Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Heress family to Ireland

Some of the Heress family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Heress family

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Heresss to arrive on North American shores: Lt. Harris who settled in Virginia in 1623; Abraham Harris settled in Barbados in 1660; Ann Harris settled in Maryland in 1737; Elizabeth Harris settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630.



The Heress 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: Ubique patriam reminisci
Motto Translation: Everywhere to remember one's country.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital


Houseofnames.com on Facebook