Show ContentsHirst History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Hirst name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived close to a wooded region or thicket. Hirst is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Literally, the name was derived from the Saxon word for "a wood, a grove; fruit-bearing tree." [1]

Early Origins of the Hirst family

The surname Hirst was first found in Yorkshire the "surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'At the hurst,' a wood, a thicket. This surname has ramified in the most remarkable manner in the West Riding of Yorkshire." [2]

The earliest record the family was Roger del Hurst who was listed in the Assize Rolls for Lancashire in 1246. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 was one of the first rolls to list early spellings of the name: Iyode Hirst; and Richard de Hirst, both listed in Huntingdonshire. The Writs of Parliament of 1302 listed John atte Hurst. Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Willelmus del He'rst; Adam del Hyrst; and Willelmus del Hirst. [2]

Early History of the Hirst family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hirst research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1648, 1769, 1760, 1750, 1751, 1754, 1629, 1690, 1629 and are included under the topic Early Hirst History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hirst Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Hirst were recorded, including Hurst, Hirst, Herst and others.

Early Notables of the Hirst family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Hirst (d. 1769?), English astronomer, the eldest son of William Hirst, D.D. (d. 1760), Master of Hertford free school, Vicar of Bengeo, and Rector of Sacomb, Hertfordshire. He was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hirst Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hirst World Ranking

In the United States, the name Hirst is the 7,899th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4] However, in New Zealand, the name Hirst is ranked the 992nd most popular surname with an estimated 759 people with that name. [5] And in the United Kingdom, the name Hirst is the 545th popular surname with an estimated 11,890 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Hirst family to Ireland

Some of the Hirst family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Hirst migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Hirst family emigrate to North America:

Hirst Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Conrath Hirst, aged 40, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [7]
  • John Hirst, who landed in New York, NY in 1749 [7]
Hirst Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Arthur Hirst, who arrived in New York in 1822 [7]
  • Akid Hirst, who landed in New York in 1835 [7]
  • George Hirst, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1859 [7]
  • Thomas Hirst, who landed in Arkansas in 1890 [7]

Canada Hirst migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Hirst Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Mrs. Hirst, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • Miss J B Hirst, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Hirst migration to Australia +

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

Hirst Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Hirst, British Convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • John Hirst, English convict from Durham, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • Joseph Hirst, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mount Stuart Elphinstone" in 1851 [10]
  • William Hirst, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mount Stuart Elphinstone" in 1851 [10]

New Zealand Hirst 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:

Hirst Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Sydney Hirst, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • W Hirst, who landed in Otako, New Zealand in 1840
  • Sydney Hirst, aged 27, a joiner, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "George Fyfe" in 1842
  • Mary Hirst, aged 24, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "George Fyfe" in 1842
  • Susan Hirst, aged 2, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "George Fyfe" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Hirst (post 1700) +

  • Jack Colgrave Hirst, American actor, known for Branagh Theatre Live: Romeo and Juliet (2016), The Terror (2018) and Stan Lee's Lucky Man (2016)
  • Gertrude Mary "G. M." Hirst (1869-1962), English-born, American classicist
  • Michael Hirst (b. 1952), English screenwriter, best known for his films Elizabeth (1998), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) and The Tudors (2007 to 2010)
  • George Herbert Hirst (1871-1954), English professional cricketer
  • Edward Hirst, English photographer and videographer
  • Damien Steven Hirst (b. 1965), English artist, entrepreneur, and art collector
  • Kenneth "Ken" Hirst (b. 1940), British rugby league footballer
  • Tilly Titihuia Rangimatau Hirst (1941-2021), née Vercoe, a New Zealand netball player and member of the New Zealand team that won the 1967 World Netball Championships
  • Mr. Thomas Edwin Hirst B.E.M., British recipient of the British Empire Medal on 8th June 2018, for services to the community in Wakefield, West Yorkshire [11]
  • John Bradley Hirst FASSA (1942-2016), Australian historian and commentator
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Alfred Hirst (1875-1914), English First Class Passenger from Birmingham, England, United Kingdom who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [12]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Harry Hirst, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [13]

The Hirst 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: Pro Deo et rege
Motto Translation: For God and the king.

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. "Most Common Last Names in New Zealand." Forebears,
  6. "UK surname ranking." UK Surname map,
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from
  9. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anson voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1843 with 499 passengers. Retrieved from
  10. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MOUNT STUART ELPHINSTONE 1851. Retrieved
  11. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 31 October 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018,
  12. Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from
  13. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook