Leister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Leister date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence 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 Leister family

The surname Leister 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 Leister family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leister 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 Leister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leister Spelling Variations

Leister has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Leister have been found, including Leycester, Leicester, Leister, Lester and others.

Early Notables of the Leister 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 Leister Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Leister family to Ireland

Some of the Leister 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 Leister migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Leisters to arrive on North American shores:

Leister Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Leister, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1620 [6]
  • Thomas Leister, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1624 [6]
Leister Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Nicklas Leister, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1750 [6]
  • Philip Leister, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1750 [6]
  • Andreas Leister, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1753 [6]
  • Nicholas Leister, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 [6]
Leister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Eteb Leister, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1848 [6]
  • Joh Leister, who arrived in America in 1853 [6]
  • Jakob Leister, who landed in North America in 1859 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Leister (post 1700) +

  • John William Leister (b. 1961), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox (1987-1990)
  • George N. Leister, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Pennsylvania State Senate 12th District, 1910
  • Frederick Leister (1885-1970), English actor, born in London, who appeared in more than 60 films between 1922 and 1961
  • Karl Leister, German businessman and founder of Leister AG in 1949, now a manufacturer of hot air plastic welding equipment, process heat components and micro-optics
  • Karl Leister (b. 1937), German classical clarinet player from Wilhelmshaven, Germany; he joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1959
  • Ephraim Leister Acker (1827-1903), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 6th District, 1871-73 [7]


The Leister 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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, August 16) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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