Nicols History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Nicols was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed 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 Nicols family

The surname Nicols 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 Nicols family

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

Nicols 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 Nicols 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 Nicols Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Nicols family to Ireland

Some of the Nicols 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 Nicols 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 Nicols or a variant listed above were:

Nicols Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Nicols, who arrived in Virginia in 1651 [4]

New Zealand Nicols 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:

Nicols Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Nicols, aged 27, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Thomas Nicols, aged 33, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waipa" in 1876
  • Sarah Nicols, aged 34, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waipa" in 1876
  • William Nicols, aged 10, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waipa" in 1876
  • Augusta Nicols, aged 7, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waipa" in 1876
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Nicols (post 1700) +

  • Joseph Nicols, American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates from Dorchester County, 1831-34, 1838, 1841-43 [5]
  • John Nicols, American politician, Member of Minnesota State Senate, 1864-65, 1872-73 [5]
  • John Nicols, American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates from Caroline County, 1836, 1840-42 [5]
  • George H. Nicols, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for New York, 1952; Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1956 [5]


The Nicols 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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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