Scales History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Scales is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Scales family lived in Hertfordshire. Their name, however, is a reference to Scalers, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. [1]

In allusion to the earlier "Escaliers," the seal of Hugh de Scales, attached to a grant of some churches to Lewes Priory, shows an armed man, putting his right foot on the step of a ladder, and with his hands resting upon it, as in the act of climbing. [2]

Its origin is apparently not Norman, as it is not found in the Duchy till the time of Philip Augustus. It was probably derived from Acquitaine, where the Viscounts of Scales had been of importance since the time of Charles Martel, c. 730, at which epoch they had a grant of the ruined Abbey of Tulle and its estates. These were restored to the church by Aldemar, Viscount of Scales, 930. Gausbert, his brother, was ancestor of the family of Scales, which continued at Limoges, 1201. Harduin de Scallers or de Scallariis (probably one of this family), had extensive grants in Herts and Cambridge 1066, and he and his posterity also held three knight's fees in Yorkshire by gift of Alan, Earl of Richmond." [1]

Early Origins of the Scales family

The surname Scales was first found in Hertfordshire. Hardwin de Scalers landed with William the Conqueror and was ancestor of the noble family of Eschalers, or Scales. The name was frequently spelt De Scales about the time of Henry III. [3]

Soon after 1086, Earl Alan granted Smeaton, part of his demesne near Richmond, to Harduin's son Malger; and in the time of Stephen, Turgis Fitz Malger was a benefactor of Fountains Abbey ; his son William de Scalers confirmmg his giftsHugh de Scalers, the contemporary, and perchance the near kinsman of the latter, founded a baronial family of high estate and ample possessions. "Their castle at Middleton, near Lynn, in Norfolk, was a magnificent building; and though now in ruins, yet they bespeak the dignity and power of the founder, and the difference between ancient and modern nobility." [2]

Hugh's barony included Whaddon in Cambridgeshire (held by Harduin at the Conquest); with Berkhempstead in Essex, and he transmitted in all fifteen knight's fees to his descendants. The line is regularly traced to his great-grandson Geoffrey, the successor of an elder brother who had died on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1220. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list the following early spellings of the family: Dionise Schayl in Cambridgeshire; Philip Schayl in Huntingdonshire; and Walter Schayl in Oxfordshire. [4]

Sir Robert de Scales, was Lord of the Manors of Bedenested and Scolegh in Essex, Parva Willington in Kent and Lynne, Middelton and Ilsington in Norfolk (1232-1233.) [5]

Lord Robert de Scales (died 1304) was a Knight Templar and loyal supporter of Edward I in his campaigns in Wales, Scotland, France and Flanders. [6]

Thomas de Scales, 7th Lord Scales (ca. 1399-1460), was younger son of Robert, 5th Lord Scales. "Like his brother, he took an active part in the French wars. In 1422 he went over to France with a company of men, for whom he contracted to receive regular wages, and from that time onwards he served under John, Duke of Bedford." [6]

Early History of the Scales family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Scales research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1372, 1402, 1399 and 1401 are included under the topic Early Scales History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Scales Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Scale, Scales, Scalers and others.

Early Notables of the Scales family (pre 1700)

Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Scales Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Scales Ranking

In the United States, the name Scales is the 2,253rd most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Scales family to Ireland

Some of the Scales family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Scales migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Scales name or one of its variants:

Scales Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Scales, who settled in Virginia in 1631
  • Geo Scales, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [8]
  • George Scales, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Thomas Scales, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1640 [8]
  • John Scales, who landed in Rowley, Massachusetts in 1648 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Scales Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Scales, who arrived in Georgia in 1742 [8]
  • Richard Scales, who arrived in Virginia in 1744 [8]
  • Richard Scales, who settled in Virginia in 1744

Australia Scales migration to Australia +

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

Scales Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

West Indies Scales migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [13]
Scales Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Francis Scales, who arrived in Barbados in 1700

Contemporary Notables of the name Scales (post 1700) +

  • Tony Scales (b. 1983), American Songwriter
  • Charley Scales, former professional American football player
  • Junius Scales (1920-2002), American leader of the Communist Party of the United States
  • Hurles Scales, former American defensive back in the National Football League
  • Dwight Scales (b. 1953), former American football wide receiver
  • Marcellus Andrellious "Mardy" Scales (b. 1981), American sprinter
  • Jonathan Scales (b. 1984), American steel pannist and composer
  • DeWayne Jay Scales (b. 1958), retired American professional basketball player
  • Laura Woolsey Lord Scales (1879-1990), American educator and college dean
  • George Walter Scales (1900-1976), American second baseman and manager
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  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. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 23rd August 2020, Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/augusta-jessie)
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-grey
  11. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 13th September 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Confiance 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/confiance1854.shtml.
  12. ^ South Australian Register Monday 14th May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Europa 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/europa1855.shtml
  13. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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