Show ContentsMellish History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Mellish is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Mellish family lived in Melhuish in Devon. The surname Mellish is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel.

Early Origins of the Mellish family

The surname Mellish was first found in Devon where Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum, temp. Henry III-Edward I. lists: William de Melehywis; and John de Melewis. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Elinora de Melhywys, Devon. [2]

"Melhuish or Melluish is a very ancient Devonshire name. In the Hundred Rolls we read of Elenora de Melhywys, of Melhywys, a seat in the barony of Okehampton. Thomas Melhinche of this county (evidently a misprint for Melhuishe) contributed £25 for the defence of his country at the time of the invasion of the Spanish Armada in 1588 (Sp.). A gentle family of Melhuish resided at Witheridge in the 16th and 17th centuries (W.). Richard Melhuish was a Tiverton churchwarden in 1656 (D.). Richard Melhuish was mayor of Barnstaple in 1708 (G.). The name still occurs in Witheridge and Tiverton." [3]

Up in Scotland, the name is a "form of Malise. Gillemycell Malys, 'tailyoer,' is in record in 1481, and John Males was tenant in Strathdee in 1527. Robert Malies was tenant of Hiltoun of Birneth (Birnie) in 1565, and in 1643 there is entry of payment for ale to John Malleis in Aberdeen. The northern surname Lees is probably a curtailed form of this name." [4]

Early History of the Mellish family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mellish research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1674, 1350, 1527, 1643, 1655, 1730, 1771, 1822, 1773, 1647, 1751, 1657, 1887, 1588, 1564, 1814, 1877 and 1814 are included under the topic Early Mellish History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mellish Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Mellish, Mellise, Melersh, Mellersh, Melluish, Melish, Mellersh, Mellis, Melliss, Meliss, Melles, Meles, Malis, Malise and many more.

Early Notables of the Mellish family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Hugh Mellis (fl. 1588), English mathematician, had from his youth, as he himself informs us, a natural genius for drawing proportions, maps, cards, buildings, and plates. He attended Dr. Robert Forth at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and went to the arithmetic lecture in the common school. He left the service of Forth, who afterwards became a master in chancery, about 1564. Subsequently he kept...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mellish Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Mellish migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Mellish Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Mellish, who arrived in Virginia in 1713 [5]
Mellish Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • R Mellish, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]

Australia Mellish migration to Australia +

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

Mellish Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Mellish, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elphinstone" on 20th January 1836, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Miss Elizabeth Mellish, (b. 1830), aged 21, English house maid who was convicted in Dorchester, Dorset, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1872 [7]

New Zealand Mellish 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:

Mellish Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edward F. Mellish, aged 29, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golden Sea" in 1874
  • Helen Mellish, aged 22, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golden Sea" in 1874
  • William Thomas Mellish, aged 4, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golden Sea" in 1874
  • Mary A. Mellish, aged 2, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golden Sea" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Mellish (post 1700) +

  • John Edward Mellish (1886-1970), American amateur astronomer and telescope builder, for whom a crater on Mars was named
  • Thomas Mellish (1773-1837), English amateur cricketer from Uxbridge, Middlesex who made 52 appearances
  • William Mellish (1764-1838), English Tory politician, Governor of the Bank of England from 1814 to 1816
  • Sir George Mellish (1814-1877), English barrister, judge of the Court of Appeal in Chancery, Member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
  • Edward Noel Mellish (1880-1962), English army captain, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Edith Mary Mellish (1861-1922), New Zealand Anglican deaconess and nun
  • Frank Whitmore Mellish MC (1897-1965), South African rugby union footballer
  • Charles Mellish (1737-1797), British politician, Recorder of Newarke, Nottinghamshire from 1770 to 1777
  • Henry Morgan Saxon Mellish (1970-2007), Australian journalist killed aboard Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 on 7 March 2007
  • David B Mellish (1831-1874), American politician, United States Representative from New York (1873-1874)
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th March 2022). Retrieved from
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from on Facebook