Keele History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Keele family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in Keele, a village and civil parish in northern Staffordshire, or in East Keal or West Keal in Lincolnshire. [1] The surname Keele belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

"Keel and Keirl are Somersetshire names, the Keirls being at home in the Bridgewater district. Amongst those who took up the cause of their religion in the Monmouth rebellion of 1685 were John and George Keele of Chilton, who were transported to Barbados, the first named not surviving the voyage." [2]

Early Origins of the Keele family

The surname Keele was first found in Lincolnshire where early records reveal that Robert de Kele was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [3] The same rolls list William de Kele in the same shire. [3]

As far as the origin of the place name Keele is concerned, we must look to the village and parish in Staffordshire where the name was derived from the Old English words "cy" + "hyll," and literally meant "hill where cows graze." The first listing of the place name was found in 1169 when is was listed as Kiel. [4]

Richard Kele was listed in the Feet of Fines for Yorkshire in 1246; John de Keel in the Subsidy Rolls for Staffordshire in 1332 and Robert Keell was in Nottinghamshire in 1481. [5]

More often than not, in Scotland, the family spelt their name Keill and or Kyill. "John Keill, chirurgian in Dundee, 1615, Thomas Kyill, burgess of Dundee, 1624, and David Keill in record in Haughmuer, 1774," [6] are but a few examples.

Keele Hall is a 19th-century mansion house at Keele, Staffordshire and the eponym of Keele University, officially known as the University of Keele, a public research university near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

Early History of the Keele family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keele research. Another 47 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1562, 1671, 1721, 1671, 1673, 1719, 1703 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Keele History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keele Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Keele include Keele, Keel, Keal, Keale and others.

Early Notables of the Keele family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Thomas Keele, a Member of Parliament for Wycombe in 1562 John Keill (1671-1721), was a Scottish mathematician and important disciple of Isaac Newton, born at Edinburgh on 1 Dec. 1671. His younger brother, James Keill (1673-1719), was a Scottish physician, philosopher, medical writer and translator. " He was educated partly at home, partly on the continent. He applied himself especially to anatomy, and coming to England acquired much reputation by lecturing on that subject at Oxford...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keele Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Keele migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Keele or a variant listed above:

Keele Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Keele, aged 14, who landed in New England in 1635 [7]
  • Edward Keele, who settled in New England in 1635
  • Elizabeth Keele, who arrived in Maryland in 1657 [7]
  • Alice Keele, who arrived in Maryland in 1672 [7]
  • John Keele, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1682 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Keele Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Keele, who settled in Portsmouth Virginia in 1820

New Zealand Keele 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:

Keele Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Frederick Keele (Peel), (b. 1824), aged 26, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850, he died in 1907 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Keele (post 1700) +

  • Alan Frank Keele (b. 1942), American professor of German at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah
  • William Conroy Keele, Canadian farmer in Toronto, eponym of Keele Street which stretches 47km from downtown Toronto the Holland Marsh


  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  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. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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