Skeele History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Skeele was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Skeele 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 Skeele family

The surname Skeele 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 Skeele family

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

Skeele Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Skeele have been found, including Scale, Scales, Scalers and others.

Early Notables of the Skeele family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Skeele family to Ireland

Some of the Skeele 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.

Migration of the Skeele family

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Skeele were among those contributors: Joseph Scale who settled in Maryland in 1684; William Scale settled in Virginia in 1656; George Scales settled in Virginia in 1636; John Scales settled in Virginia in 1631.


Contemporary Notables of the name Skeele (post 1700) +

  • Philip Skeele, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio, 1908 [7]
  • Christopher H. Skeele, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Niagara County, 1847 [7]
  • Charles W. Skeele Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 23rd District, 1994 [7]


  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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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