Show ContentsLeake History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Leake is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when a family lived in one of the places that was called Leake. The name literally means "place at the brook," from the Scandinavian word "loekr." The Lincolnshire, Yorkshire or Nottinghamshire parishes all date back to the Domesday Book of 1086 [1] where they were listed as Leche, Lec(h)e and Lec(c)he respectively. [2]

Early Origins of the Leake family

The surname Leake was first found in either Lincolnshire, Yorkshire or Nottinghamshire which all have parishes names Leake. For some of the first listings of the family, we must look to Lincolnshire where the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list the following: John de Lek; Roger de Leke; and Teobald de Lek as all living in that shire at that time. [3]

Willie's Lyke-Wake is a Child Ballad, one of 305 traditional ballads from England and Scotland, and their American variants listed in the 1904 Houghton Mifflin edition. Lyke-Wake Dirge is a traditional English song that is thought to have originated in the Yorkshire area.

Other early rolls included the following entries for the family: Walter de Lek in the Assize Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1202; Ralph de Lek in the Assize Rolls for Yorkshire in 1219; Henry de Leek in the Assize Rolls for Cheshire in 1290; John Leke in Lincolnshire (no date); and Ralph Leecke in the Hundredorum Rolls for Bedfordshire in 1279. [4]

Early History of the Leake family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leake research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1334, 1581, 1655, 1627, 1679, 1660, 1633, 1681, 1656, 1720, 1710, 1712, 1708 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Leake History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leake Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Leake family name include Leake, Leak, Leek, Leeke, Leyke and others.

Early Notables of the Leake family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Francis Leke, 1st Earl of Scarsdale (1581-1655) fought for the Royalist cause in the English Civil War; Sir Francis Leke, 1st Baronet (1627-1679), an English soldier, administrator and Member of Parliament, High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire for 1660; William Leake, the father (died...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leake Ranking

In the United States, the name Leake is the 4,304th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [5]

United States Leake migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Leake surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Leake Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jon Leake, who landed in Virginia in 1628 [6]
  • Alexander Leake, aged 22, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Phillip" [6]
  • Anne Leake, aged 19, who arrived in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "Defence" [6]
  • Richard Leake, aged 18, who landed in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Assurance" [6]
  • Richard Leake, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Leake Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Philip Leake, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [6]
  • William Leake, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [6]
  • Mrs. Leake, who landed in Georgia in 1734 [6]

Canada Leake migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Leake Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Was Leake, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Major Robert Leake U.E. (b. 1750) born in Bedington, Durham, England from Albany, New York, USA who settled in England, United Kingdom c. 1784 he served in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of New York, married Margaret Watts he died in Cardiff, Wales in 1788 [7]

Australia Leake migration to Australia +

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

Leake Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Nelson Leake, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [8]

New Zealand Leake 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:

Leake Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Maria Leake, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mersey" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th June 1861 [9]
  • S. F. Leake, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1870

West Indies Leake migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [10]
Leake Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Leake, (b. 1617), aged 18, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [11]
  • Mr. Robert Leake, (b. 1615), aged 20, British settler traveling aboard the ship "William and John" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [12]

Contemporary Notables of the name Leake (post 1700) +

  • Buddy Leake (1933-2014), American award winning quarterback and kicker with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League
  • Joseph Bloomfield Leake (1828-1918), American Civil War Brevet Brigadier General and U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Walter Leake, American who served as a United States Senator from Mississippi (1817 - 1820) and as Governor of Mississippi (1822 - 1825)
  • David B Leake, American Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Computer Science Department at Indiana University
  • William Leake (1865-1942), English international rugby union player
  • Sir John Leake (1656-1720), English Admiral in the Royal Navy, politician who sat in the House of Commons (1708 to 1715)
  • William Martin Leake (1777-1860), English antiquarian topographer of Greece
  • George Leake (1856-1902), Australian premier of Western Australia
  • George Leake (1786-1849), Australian wealthy landholder and merchant in the early days of the Swan River Colony
  • John Leake Marling (1825-1856), American politician, U.S. Minister to Guatemala, 1854-56 [13]

The Leake 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: Agendo gnaviter
Motto Translation: By acting prudently.

  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. 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. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  8. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  11. Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's. Retrieved 23rd September 2021 from
  12. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021 from
  13. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from on Facebook