Peakes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Peakes is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Peakes family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Peakes family lived in Staffordshire. The surname of Peak derives from the Old English word pekke, indicating the top of a mountain or hill, and was a local name distinguishing a person who lived by a prominent peak. [1]

Early Origins of the Peakes family

The surname Peakes was first found in Suffolk where Uluric Pec was listed at Bury St Edmunds c. 1095, nine years after the Domesday Book of 1086. Oxfordshire is the next entry: Richard de Pec who was listed at Eynsham in 1192. [2]

As noted, most sources point to Staffordshire as to where the family hails. Staffordshire was where "among the earliest known bearers of the name are Richard del Pech or del Pek (d. 1196), son of Ranulf, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Willielmus Piec, who was in Winchester in 1194." [3] "The Peakes of Staffordshire were represented in Shropshire in the 13th century by the Piks and Pickes." [4]

And two sources note Derbyshire, where the name was derived from "a pointed hill, as the Peak in Derbyshire" [5] and "one who came from Peak (hill), in Derbyshire." [6] "The Peak District, Derbyshire, is referred to as Peac lond in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 924." [7]

"The Peakes of Llewenny, co. Denbigh, have been seated there apparently from the XIV. century, and there is little doubt of their extraction from Thomas del Peke, to whom Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, about the year 1284, granted a burgage, &c., within the walls of Denbigh. As Llewennie was included within De Lacy's barony, it seems probable that it was granted at the same period. The family went into Wales in 1283, with King Edward I., doubtless as feudatories of the De Lacys. Harl. M.S. 1933. See B.L.G. The etymology of the name is the same as that of Peak." [5]

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide surname spellings in use at that time. William de Peke was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296 and William atte Peke was listed in Devon in 1321. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists: Isabell del Pek; and Martyn del Pek. [1]

Early History of the Peakes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Peakes research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1284, 1283, 1551, 1619, 1592, 1667 and 1668 are included under the topic Early Peakes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Peakes Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled MacPeake, Peak, Peake and others.

Early Notables of the Peakes family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir William Peake of Achurch; Robert Peake the Elder (c. 1551-1619), an English painter; and Sir Robert Peake (ca. 1592-1667), English print-seller and Royalist, he was exiled for refusing...
Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Peakes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Peakes family to Ireland

Some of the Peakes family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Peakes family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Peakes or a variant listed above: Robert Peake who settled in Virginia in 1623; Mathew Peake settled in Virginia in 1636; Mary Peake and her husband settled in Boston in 1636; Martha Peak settled in Virginia in 1698.



  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  6. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  7. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print


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