Leicester History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The lineage of the name Leicester begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a result of when they lived in Leicester, in Leicestershire. Leicester is the capital of the county and its name is derived from the Old English element ceaster, which meant "Roman town." [1]

Early Origins of the Leicester family

The surname Leicester was first found in Cheshire at Leycester, more commonly known as Leicester, a city now in the unitary authority area in the East Midlands. The first record of the place name was found in the early 10th century as "Ligera ceater" but by the Domesday Book of 1086 the place name had evolved to Ledecestre. [2]

Literally the place name means "Roman town of the people called Ligore," having derived from the Tribal name + the Old English word "ceater." [1] As far as the surname is concerned, the family are "descended from Sir Nicholas Leycester, who acquired the manor of Nether-Tabley in marriage, and died in 1295." [3]

But another source notes that Hugo de Legrecestra was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Leicestershire in 1130, followed by Nicholas de Leycester who was listed in the Assize Rolls for Cheshire in 1287. [4]

And another source notes that the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list what is probably the first instance of the name as Robert de Lestre. [5]

Yorkshire was home to an early branch of the family: Richard de Laycestre in 1305; Henry Lycester in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls in 1381; William Leycetter in 1480; and Henry Lasisture in 1503. [4]

Early History of the Leicester family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leicester research. Another 133 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1586, 1604, 1605, 1620, 1614, 1678, 1588, 1647, 1642, 1678, 1643, 1684, 1674, 1742, 1715, 1727, 1705, 1706, 1762, 1827, 1762, 1732 and 1770 are included under the topic Early Leicester History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leicester Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Leicester has undergone many spelling variations, including Leycester, Leicester, Leister, Lester and others.

Early Notables of the Leicester family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Peter Leycester (Leicester), 1st Baronet (1614-1678), an English antiquarian and historian, supporter of the Royalist side in the Civil War. He was born at Nether Tabley, near Knutsford, Cheshire, England, the eldest son of Peter Leycester (1588-1647) and Elizabeth Mainwaring. In 1642 he married Elizabeth Gerard, the third daughter of Gilbert, 2nd Baron Gerard. They had three sons and three daughters. He died at his home in 1678 and was buried at Great Budworth, Cheshire. He was succeeded in the baronetage by...
Another 90 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leicester Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Leicester family to Ireland

Some of the Leicester family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Leicester migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Leicester were among those contributors:

Leicester Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Peter Leicester, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1682
  • Peter Leicester, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1682 [6]
Leicester Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Leicester, who settled in Virginia in 1732

Australia Leicester migration to Australia +

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

Leicester Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mary Leicester, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Bronte" in 1849 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Leicester (post 1700) +

  • Robert T. Leicester, American politician, Representative from New York 17th District, 1950
  • Ann Leicester (1912-1996), American film actress
  • Robert Dudley Leicester (1532-1588), English statesman
  • Edward Leicester Atkinson DSO AM RN (1881-1929), Royal naval surgeon and Antarctic explorer, eponym of Atkinson Cliffs, Antarctica
  • Sir Robert Leicester Harmsworth (1870-1937), 1st Baronet, British businessman and Liberal politician
  • Darren Leicester Cheeseman (b. 1976), Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for Corangamite (2007-)
  • Leicester Fitzgerald Charles Stanhope (1784-1862), fifth Earl of Harrington, Irish peer, third son of Charles Stanhope, third Earl of Harrington


The Leicester 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 rege et patria
Motto Translation: For King and country.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The DUKE OF BRONTE 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849DukeOfBronte.htm


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