Nicholls History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Nicholls was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the given name Nicholas. Nicholas derives from the Greek Nikolaos, which is made up of the words nikan, meaning to conquer, and laos, meaning people. [1]

Early Origins of the Nicholls family

The surname Nicholls was first found in Cheshire, where Nicholas D'Albini, who was of the junior line of the Dukes of D'Albini in Normandy, settled in 1054, and his successor William became Baron of Malpas. Waleram Nicholai was listed in Suffolk in 1198 and Nicholaus was listed in Lincolnshire in 1147-1166. [1] By the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the name was scattered as seen by: William filius Nicoll in Shropshire; and John Nicole and Stephen Nichole in Oxfordshire. [2]

Some of the family were anciently found in the parish of St. Kew, Cornwall. "Trewane or Trewarne in this parish, was formerly a seat of the Nicholls family. The heiress of Nicholls, whose mother was a daughter of Sir Joseph Tredenham of Tregonan in St. Ewe, married Nicholas Glynn, Esq. and dying in 1771 without surviving issue, bequeathed her mansion and barton of Trewane to Thomas Glynn, Esq. of the borough of Helston." [3]

Continuing our quest for family in Cornwall, we found this interesting geneological record: "Trereife [in the parish of Madern] has been the family estate of the Nicholls's from time immemorial. Dr. Nicholls, physician to George II. who opened the body of the king for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of his death, which he described in a paper addressed to the Royal Society, was second son of John Nicholls. This family intermarried with the families of Godolphin and Foote. William John Godolphin Nicholls, Esq. the last survivor of the elder branch of the family, died May 9, 1815, and bequeathed all his estates to his mother." [3]

Early History of the Nicholls family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nicholls research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1307, 1500, 1542, 1658, 1678, 1550, 1589, 1555, 1584, 1559, 1616, 1590, 1668, 1587, 1642, 1619, 1683, 1624, 1672, 1630, 1687, 1672, 1673, 1699, 1778, 1681, 1727, 1727, 1658, 1640, 1640, 1648, 1664, 1712, 1756, 1850, 1779 and 1818 are included under the topic Early Nicholls History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nicholls Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Nicholl, Niccolls, Nichel, Nichol, Nicholls, Nichols, Nickel, Nickle, Nickles, Nicolls, Nicol, Nycol, Nuckles and many more.

Early Notables of the Nicholls family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Blessed George Nichols (c. 1550-1589), an English Catholic martyr; John Nicholls (1555-1584), a controversial author; Sir Augustine Nicolls (1559-1616), a judge; John Nicoll (c.1590-1668), a Scottish chronicler; Sir Francis Nicolls, 1st Baronet (c. 1587-1642), Member of Parliament for Bishop's Castle and Northamptonshire; Sir Edward Nicolls, 2nd Baronet (c. 1619-1683); Richard Nicolls (1624-1672), the first English colonial governor of New York province; Matthias Nicoll (1630-1687), American politician, 6th Mayor of New York City...
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nicholls Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Nicholls family to Ireland

Some of the Nicholls family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 129 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Nicholls migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Nicholls or a variant listed above were:

Nicholls Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Nicholls, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Elizabeth Nicholls, who arrived in New England in 1635
  • Elizabeth Nicholls, who settled in New England in 1635
  • Jer Nicholls, aged 16, who arrived in St Christopher in 1635 [4]
  • Robert Nicholls, who landed in Maryland in 1635 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Nicholls Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Susanna Nicholls, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [4]
  • Anne Nicholls, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [4]
  • Martin Nicholls, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [4]
  • Judith Nicholls, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [4]
  • David Nicholls, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Nicholls Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Anthony Edward Nicholls, aged 29, who arrived in New York in 1812 [4]
  • Robert Nicholls, aged 22, who arrived in America in 1822 [4]
  • James Nicholls, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1832 [4]
  • Samuel Nicholls, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1835 [4]
  • E Nicholls, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Nicholls migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Nicholls Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Lucy Nicholls, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1811
  • James Nicholls, who arrived in Canada in 1816

Australia Nicholls migration to Australia +

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

Nicholls Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Nicholls, English convict from Staffordshire, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Thomas Nicholls, English convict from Warwick, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • William Nicholls, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • James Nicholls, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • William Nicholls, English convict from Suffolk, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Nicholls Settlers in Australia in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Edward J. Nicholls, (b. 1883), aged 18, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Duke of Norfolk" arriving in Queensland, Australia on 16th February 1901 [8]

New Zealand Nicholls 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:

Nicholls Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Nicholls, aged 21, a cooper, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Mr. William Nicholls, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 30th September 1853 [9]
  • Mrs. Catherine Nicholls, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bank of England" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 28th December 1855 [9]
  • Mr. Nicholls, British settler travelling from London, UK with 5 children aboard the ship "Bank of England" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 28th December 1855 [9]
  • Frederick Nicholls, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Nicholls (post 1700) +

  • Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls (1834-1912), American attorney, politician, and a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army, 28th Governor of Louisiana (1877-1880) and (1888-1892)
  • William W. Nicholls (b. 1860), American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in SAINT Michaels, 1889-99; U.S. Vice & Deputy Consul in SAINT Michaels, 1899-1914 [10]
  • Thomas David Nicholls (1870-1931), American Democrat politician, Coal miner; president, District 1, United Mine Workers of America, 1899-1909; U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 10th District, 1907-11 [10]
  • Samuel Jones Nicholls (1885-1937), American Democrat politician, Member of South Carolina State House of Representatives, 1906-09; U.S. Representative from South Carolina 4th District, 1915-21 [10]
  • Joshua L. Nicholls, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Trumbull, 1836 [10]
  • John Calhoun Nicholls (1834-1893), American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1876; Member of Georgia State Legislature; U.S. Representative from Georgia 1st District, 1879-81, 1883-85 [10]
  • John A. Nicholls, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, 1909, 1910; Prohibition Candidate for U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, 1922 [10]
  • James A. Nicholls, American politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1845-49 [10]
  • George Nicholls, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Thompson, 1836-37 [10]
  • Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls (1834-1912), American Democrat politician, Governor of Louisiana, 1877-80, 1888-92; Chief Justice of Louisiana State Supreme Court, 1892-1904 [10]
  • ... (Another 20 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Malcolm Godfrey Nicholls (1919-1941), Australian Able Seaman from South Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [11]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Douglas H Nicholls (b. 1917), English Stoker 2nd Class serving for the Royal Navy from Hackney, London, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Thomas Nicholls, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Reginald Frederick Nicholls, British Commander with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [14]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Sidney Nicholls (d. 1912), aged 39, English Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [15]
  • Mr. Joseph Charles "Joe" Nicholls (d. 1912), aged 19, English Second Class passenger from St. Ives, Cornwall who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [15]


The Nicholls 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: Fide sed cui vide
Motto Translation: Trust, but in whom take care.


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1822
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1823
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1824 with 9 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1824
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_queensland.pdf
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  12. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  13. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  14. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  15. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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