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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Lester family come from? What is the English Lester family crest and coat of arms? When did the Lester family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Lester family history?

Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Lester is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having 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."


The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Lester has been spelled many different ways, including Leycester, Leicester, Leister, Lester and others.

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. [1] Literally the place name means "Roman town of the people called Ligore," having derived from the Tribal name + the Old English word "ceater." [2] 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]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lester research. Another 215 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1586, 1614 and 1678 are included under the topic Early Lester History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 41 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Lester Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Lesters to arrive in North America:

Lester Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Edward Lester, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620
  • James Lester settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Andrew Lester, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1641
  • Ralph Lester settled in Virginia in 1643
  • Ralph Lester, who arrived in Virginia in 1643

Lester Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Richd Lester, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • William Lester, who landed in Virginia in 1711
  • George Lester settled in Charles Town, South Carolina, in 1767
  • Francis Lester, aged 18, arrived in Maryland in 1774

Lester Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Anne Lester, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Richard Albert Lester, who landed in Schuyler County, Illinois in 1848
  • N Lester, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • P Lester, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • E Lester, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Lester Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Caroline Lester arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Seppings" in 1839
  • Emily Lester arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Seppings" in 1839
  • Henry Lester arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Simlah" in 1849
  • John Lester arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Amity Hall" in 1850
  • Eliza Lester, aged 17, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Mary Green"

Lester Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • W B Lester landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • Mr Lester landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1844
  • Annie Lester arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Anne Dymes" in 1864
  • Ellen Lester, aged 38, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875
  • Emily Lester, aged 9, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875


  • Richard Lester (b. 1932), British-based two-time BAFTA nominated film director famous for his work with The Beatles
  • Hospital Apprentice First Class Fred Faulkner Lester, American soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • John Lester (1871-1969), American cricketer
  • Johnathan Tyler "Jon" Lester (b. 1984), Major League Baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
  • Sonny Lester (b. 1924), Grammy-award winning music producer from New York City, recipient of the Purple Heart
  • Major-General James Allan Lester (1891-1958), American Commanding General San Francisco Port of Embarkation (1948)
  • Jack Lester (b. 1975), former professional English footballer
  • Mr. James Lester (d. 1912), aged 39, English Third Class passenger from West Bromwich, Staffordshire who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Alexander Lester, Canadian engineer
  • Adrian Lester (b. 1968), British actor



  • Lester, Neal, and Allied Families by Shirley Wimpey Ward.

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.


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  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. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.

Other References

  1. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Lester Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Lester Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 14 January 2015 at 12:46.

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