Show ContentsPolite History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Polite is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Polite family lived in Pawlett, a small village 4 miles (6 km) north of Bridgwater, in the Sedgemoor district of the English county of Somerset. The Polite family claim descent from Hercules de Tournon but "he appears to be a mythic personage." 1 This reference continues: "it is really descended from the Norman house of D'Aunou. Baldric Teutonicus, living c. 900 was ancestor [of this family]. 1

Early Origins of the Polite family

The surname Polite was first found in Somerset, at Pawlett (Paulet.) It was here that "in the reign of Henry I, Fulco de Alnou had a grant from the Crown of Grandon. He had two sons: 1. Walter de Poeleth, who in 1203 paid a fine in Somerset [and] 2. Robert de Polet, mentioned in Buckinghamshire 1198. " 1

A later descendant was William de Paulet who was Lord of Paulet, Stretchill and Walpole, Somerset in 1316. Another reference claims the first record of the name was Sir William de Paulet who died in 1242. 2 This may have been a descendant of the aforementioned William de Paulet but Shirley contends that this latter William was actually "of Leigh in Devonshire." 2

The parish of Peverell Sampford in Devon had a house with an infamous history. "This place is distinguished as having been the residence of Margaret, Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII. The house in which she lived, subsequently belonged to Sir Amias Poulett, who had the custody of Mary, Queen of Scots, at the time of her execution; it was a castellated building, erected in 1337, and taken down in 1775." 3

Early History of the Polite family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Polite research. Another 59 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1483, 1532, 1539, 1550, 1551, 1562, 1572, 1585, 1588, 1600, 1606, 1608, 1610, 1615, 1621, 1625, 1649, 1661, 1665, 1699, 1722 and 1794 are included under the topic Early Polite History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Polite Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Polite are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Polite include Paulet, Paulett, Paullet, Pawlet, Pawlett and others.

Early Notables of the Polite family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir William Paulet (1483-1572), English politician, Lord Treasurer of England, created Baron St John (1539), Earl of Wiltshire (1550), and Marquess of Winchester (1551); Sir Hugh Paulet (died ca. 1572), an English military commander and governor of Jersey; Sir Amias Paulet (1532-1588), an English diplomat, Governor of Jersey, and the gaoler for a period of Mary, Queen of Scots; Anthony Paulet (1562-1600), Governor of the Isle of Jersey from 1588 until his death...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Polite Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Polite Ranking

In the United States, the name Polite is the 8,443rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 4

Ireland Migration of the Polite family to Ireland

Some of the Polite family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 282 words (20 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 Polite family

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Polite, or a variant listed above: Chidock Paulett settled in Virginia in 1637; Thomas Paulett settled in Virginia in 1623; Francis Paullet settled in New Orleans, La. in 1823; Thomas Pawlett settled in Virginia in 1624.

Contemporary Notables of the name Polite (post 1700) +

  • John D. Polite, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1940 5

The Polite 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: Aymez loyaulté
Motto Translation: Love Loyalty.

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 29) . Retrieved from on Facebook