Kerslake History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Kerslake name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided near a stream in which a substantial quantity of the edible plant cress or watercress grew. The surname Kerslake is derived from the Old English words cærse, which means cress, and lacu, which means stream. [1] The surname Kerslake belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Kerslake family

The surname Kerslake was first found in Devon at Kerslake, a hamlet near Tiverton. "Burgesses of that town bore this name in the reign of James I., and Abraham Kerslake was a Tiverton churchwarden in the time of Charles II." [2]

The "C" and "K" prefix for the name has always been interchangeable, as the first record of the family was actually found in Somerset. The Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1279 listed Ranulph de Carselak. [3]

Early History of the Kerslake family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kerslake research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1279, 1295, 1586, 1677, 1821 and 1881 are included under the topic Early Kerslake History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kerslake 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 Kerslake include Karslake, Carslake, Kerslake, Carselak, Karslack and others.

Early Notables of the Kerslake family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Kerslake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kerslake 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 Kerslake or a variant listed above:

Kerslake Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Kerslake, who sailed to Barbados in 1684
Kerslake Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Kerslake, who sailed to Philadelphia in 1868
Kerslake Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Jennie Kerslake, aged 26, who settled in America from Belfast, in 1902
  • Geo. Henry Kerslake, aged 36, who immigrated to the United States from Ledget Green, in 1904
  • Lewis James Kerslake, aged 25, who immigrated to the United States from Holcombe, England, in 1909
  • Cecil John Kerslake, aged 20, who landed in America from Holcombe, England, in 1909
  • Albert Wm. Kerslake, aged 7, who immigrated to the United States from Cullompton, England, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Kerslake migration to Australia +

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

Kerslake Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Kerslake, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Agincourt"
  • Richard Kerslake (aged 27), a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • Mr. Richard Kerslake, (b. 1829), aged 27, Cornish labourer from Launceston, Cornwall, UKtravelling from Plymouth, Devon, UK aboard the ship "Aliquis" arriving in Adelaide, Australia on 26th August 1856 [4]
  • Mrs. Joanna Kerslake (née Mutton), (b. 1836), aged 20, Cornish settler from Launceston, Cornwall, UKtravelling from Plymouth, Devon, UK aboard the ship "Aliquis" arriving in Adelaide, Australia on 26th August 1856 [4]
  • Miss Mary A Kerslake, (b. 1857), aged 28, Cornish housekeeper travelling aboard the ship "SS Bombay" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 5th June 1885 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Kerslake 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:

Kerslake Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Betsy Kerslake, (b. 1808), aged 33, British farm servant travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Timandra" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand on 24th February 1842 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kerslake (post 1700) +

  • William Roy Kerslake (1929-2015), American Olympic heavy weight wrestler and NASA engineer
  • Ken Kerslake (1930-2007), American printmaker
  • Lee Kerslake (1947-2020), English musician from Winton, Bournemouth, Dorset, best known as the drummer and backing vocalist for the rock band Uriah Heep
  • Roy Cosmo Kerslake (b. 1942), English cricketer from Paignton, Devon who played first-class cricket for Cambridge University and Somerset
  • Thomas Kerslake (1812-1891), English bookseller and antiquarian
  • Sir Robert Kerslake (b. 1955), Secretary of the Communities and Local Government department of the UK government
  • David Kerslake (b. 1966), English former professional footballer
  • Camilla Kerslake (b. 1988), English classical crossover singer
  • Seána Kerslake (b. 1990), Irish Dublin Film Critics Circle Award winning actress from Tallaght, known for Can't Cope, Won't Cope (2016), A Date for Mad Mary (2016) and Dollhouse (2012)
  • Philip Trevor "Phil" Kerslake MNZM (b. 1959), Welsh-born New Zealand speaker, author and television presenter
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Cornelius Arthur Louvain Kerslake, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [7]


The Kerslake 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: Ad finem fidelis
Motto Translation: Faithful to the end.


  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ The Ships List Passenger Lists Ship Aliquis (Retrieved 26th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/aliquis1856.shtml
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 19). Emigrants to Australia NSW 1860 -88 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/nsw_passenger_lists_1860_88.pdf
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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