Seldon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Seldon surname lived in various places named Sheldon including Derbyshire, Devon, Warwickshire and the West Midlands. The first portion of the surname Seldon is derived from the Old English scylf meaning shelf. The second portion was originally derived from the Old English dun meaning hill. The surname simply referred to the hill with a flat top. [1]

Early Origins of the Seldon family

The surname Seldon was first found in Worcestershire where "John Sheldon, of Abberton, in the reign of Henry IV" [2] is generally believed to be the progenitor. However, the Warwickshire "ancient house of Sheldon, of Sheldon is a matter of doubt, but not improbable. [2] For it is in Warwickshire that the family rose in prominence when William Sheldon purchased the manor of Beoly from Richard Neville in the reign of Edward IV. [2]

The family held this estate as their principal seat until it was destroyed by a fire in the Civil Wars of the 17th century. "[Beoley, Worcestershire] belonged successively to the noble families of Mortimer, Beauchamp, and Holland, of whose ancient castle the mound and moat still remain; and in the reign of Charles I. the manor was the property of Ralph Sheldon, a distinguished royalist, whose mansion was burned by the family themselves, to prevent its falling into the possession of the parliamentarians. Attached to the church is the chapel of 'Our Lady,' formerly a private chapel of the Sheldon family, to whom it has a very handsome monument: underneath the chapel is the vault." [3]

Over in the parish of Temple Grafton, another branch of the family was found. Originally held by Knights Templar (hence the prefix "Temple"), the property was purchased by the Sheldon family in the Dissolution of the Monasteries between 1536 and 1541 by Henry VIII. [3]

Early History of the Seldon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Seldon research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1584, 1654, 1599, 1687, 1598, 1677, 1660, 1663, 1642 and 1610 are included under the topic Early Seldon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Seldon Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Seldon are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Seldon include: Sheldon, Shelden, Seldin, Sheldyn, Sheltan and others.

Early Notables of the Seldon family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Selden (1584-1654), an English jurist and a scholar of England's ancient laws and constitution; Edward Sheldon (1599-1687), an English translator of Catholic works; and Gilbert Sheldon (1598-1677), Bishop of London in 1660, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1663, eponym of the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford. Richard Sheldon (d. 1642?), was an English divine, probably...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Seldon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Seldon family to Ireland

Some of the Seldon family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Seldon migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Seldon or a variant listed above:

Seldon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mary Seldon, aged 35, who arrived in America from Worcester, England, in 1892
  • Thomas Seldon, aged 47, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1892
Seldon Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • William Seldon, aged 44, who arrived in America from Bideford, England, in 1903
  • William G. Seldon, aged 42, who arrived in America from Cornwall, England, in 1903
  • Katherine B. Seldon, who arrived in America from Melbourne, Australia, in 1906
  • Gilbert Seldon, who arrived in America from Melbourne, Australia, in 1906
  • Annie Seldon, aged 23, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Seldon migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Seldon Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Seldon, (b. 1834), aged 21, English stonemason, from Devonport, Plymouth, Devon, England, UK departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, he survived the sinking [4]
Seldon Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Walter Seldon, aged 50, who arrived in Toronto, Canada, in 1910
  • Ella D Seldon, aged 29, who arrived in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, in 1911
  • F Fred Seldon, aged 39, who arrived in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, in 1911
  • Shirley I Seldon, aged 11, who arrived in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, in 1911

Australia Seldon migration to Australia +

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

Seldon Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Seldon, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Seldon (post 1700) +

  • Bruce Samuel Seldon (1967-1995), American retired heavyweight boxer, one-time World Heavyweight Champion in 1995
  • Arthur Seldon CBE (1916-2005), English co-founder and co-president of the Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Myma Seldon (b. 1979), British television and radio presenter and voiceover artist
  • Sir Anthony Francis Seldon PhD, FRSA, PGCE MBA, FRHistS (b. 1953), British schoolmaster and a contemporary historian, commentator and political author
  • Robert Seldon Duncanson (1821-1872), African-American painter, descended from freed Virginia slaves
  • J. Seldon Brandt, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 36th District, 1926 [6]
  • Roscoe Seldon Suddarth (b. 1935), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Jordan, 1987 [7]
  • Ora Seldon Spillman, American politician, Delegate to Nebraska State Constitutional Convention, 1919-20; Nebraska State Attorney General, 1923-29 [8]
  • Seldon D. Snedecker, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for New York State Assembly from Cattaraugus County, 1910 [9]
  • Seldon Jasper, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Hyde County, 1798 [10]


The Seldon 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: Optimum pati
Motto Translation: To suffer is best.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  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. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/wreck_of_emigrant_ship_john_1855.pdf
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 1) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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