Show ContentsLeed History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Leed family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Leed comes from when the family lived in Leeds a well-known town in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This place-name was aHabitation name which forms a broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. Habitation names were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. In this case the surname Leed denotes someone who came from Leeds.

Early Origins of the Leed family

The surname Leed was first found in Leeds, a parish, and liberty, in the West Riding of York, comprising the market-town and borough of Leeds. 1

"At the Conquest, the manor of Leeds was given to Ilbert de Lacy, who erected a baronial castle here, which was besieged by Stephen, King of England, on his route to Scotland, and in which Richard II., after his deposition, was for some time confined, previously to his removal to the Castle of Pontefract, where he was inhumanly murdered." 1

As far as the first listings of the family, we must look elsewhere. Paulinus de Ledes was listed in Cheshire in 1175-1176; Peter de Ledes was listed in the Feet of Fines for Kent in 1198; and Hugh de Leedes was listed in 1285. 2

Taking a moment to explore, the aforementioned Kent listing, Leeds is also a parish found there in the union of Hollingbourne, hundred of Eyhorne, lathe of Aylesford. "The parish is said to have derived its name from Ledian, councillor to Ethelbert II., who built a fortress here in 978. Leeds Castle, one of the most stately castles in the kingdom, is seated in a beautiful park, and surrounded by a moat: the buildings, which are entirely of stone, are ranged round a spacious quadrangle, and though they exhibit the architecture of different periods, produce, as a whole, a most striking effect." 1

Early History of the Leed family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leed research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1573, 1590, 1599, 1621, 1622, 1624, 1632, 1656, 1677, 1699, 1704, 1712 and 1738 are included under the topic Early Leed History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leed Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Leed has appeared include Leeds, Lead, Leed, Leads and others.

Early Notables of the Leed family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • Edward Leeds (died 1590), an English clergyman from Benenden, Kent, Rector of Croxton in 1573; Sir John Leedes (died 1656), an English landowner and politician, Member of Parliament for New Shoreham (...
  • Interestingly, Edward Courtney (1599?-1677), was an English Jesuit, "whose real name was Leedes, was the son of Sir Thomas Leedes, K.B., by Mary, daughter and heiress of Thomas Leedes of Northamilford...

United States Leed migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Leed arrived in North America very early:

Leed Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Leed, aged 16, who landed in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Elizabeth" 3
Leed Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Leed, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 3
  • James Leed, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 3
  • James, Leed Jr., who landed in Virginia in 1714 3
  • Henry Leed, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 3

Australia Leed migration to Australia +

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

Leed Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Eliza Leed, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Eliza" 4
  • Mr. John Leed, British convict who was convicted in Barbados for 7 years, transported aboard the ""Blenheim"" on 24th July 1850, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island, Australia 5

New Zealand Leed 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:

Leed Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • R Leed, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1837

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. 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)
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ELIZA 1849. Retrieved from
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from on Facebook