Heysham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Heysham begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from the son of Heysham.In Old English, patronyms were formed by adding a variety of suffixes to personal names, which changed over time and from place to place. For example, after the Norman Conquest, sunu and sune, which meant son, were the most common patronymic suffixes. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the most common patronymic names included the word filius, which meant son. By the 14th century, the suffix son had replaced these earlier versions. Surnames that were formed with filius or son were more common in the north of England and it was here that the number of individuals without surnames was greatest at this time.

Early Origins of the Heysham family

The surname Heysham was first found in Lancashire, at Heysham, a coastal village near Lancaster. The village dates back to the Domesday Book [1] when it was listed there as Hessam derived from the Old English words haes + ham and meant "homestead or village among the brushwood" [2]

"Under the Normans, the manor of Heysham, anciently Hessam, was held by the service of cornage, where the lord was bound by his tenure to meet the king on the borders of the county, with his horn and a white wand, introducing him into the county, and attending him on his departure. From this tenure, it is probable that a branch of the family, de Hessam." [3]

Today the village is a thriving community, but historically the ancient St. Patrick's Chapel, close to St. Peter's Church holds stone graves in the ruins and is home to many Saxon and Viking remains. The church itself contains an ancient Viking hogback stone. According to legend, St. Patrick landed here after crossing from Ireland and established the chapel.

Early History of the Heysham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heysham research. Another 147 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1682, 1738, 1682, 1697, 1700, 1702, 1704, 1714, 1723, 1724 and 1733 are included under the topic Early Heysham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Heysham Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Heysham has been recorded under many different variations, including Heysham, Haysom, Hessam, Heshen and others.

Early Notables of the Heysham family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Richard Helsham (1682?-1738), "friend of Swift, was born probably in 1682 at Leggatsrath, co. Kilkenny. He was educated at Kilkenny College, entered Trinity College, Dublin, 18 July 1697, obtained a scholarship in 1700, graduated B.A. in 1702, was elected fellow in 1704, and was co-opted a senior fellow in 1714. He was lecturer in mathematics 1723-30, and was the first to hold the professorship of natural philosophy...
Another 73 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heysham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Heysham migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Heysham or a variant listed above:

Heysham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Heysham, who sailed to Pennsylvania in 1773
  • William Postlethwaite Heysham, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Heysham (post 1700) +

  • William Nunez Heysham (1828-1905), English first-class cricketer and barrister
  • John Heysham (1753-1834), English physician, born at Lancaster on 22 Nov. 1753, the son of John Heysham, shipowner
  • William Heysham Overend ROI (1851-1898), British marine artist and book illustrator who died early at 47 years old
  • John Heysham Gibbon AB, MD (1903-1973), American surgeon best known for inventing the heart–lung machine
  • Robert Heysham Sayre (1824-1907), American businessman, vice president and chief engineer of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, eponym of Sayre, Pennsylvania
  • John Heysham Gibbon Jr. (1903-1973), American surgeon, who invented the heart-lung machine and performed the first open heart surgery


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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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