Sleep History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Sleep surname is thought to be a habitational name taken from any of the several places so named, such as Slape in Dorset or Sleap in Shropshire. [1] [2] The word "slape" comes from Middle English, and means a "slippery" or "miry" place."

Alternatively, the name could have been occupational for a "sword-slyper, a cutler, one whose principal work was to whet swords. " [3] "Slyper is the name of a diamond-cutter in London. Hence no doubt the surname Sleeper. " [4]

Early Origins of the Sleep family

The surname Sleep was first found in Kent where John le Slepere was found in the Curia Regis Rolls for 1212. A few years later, Hugh le Slepere was listed in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1232. [5]

In Oxfordshire, we found Simon le Slepar in the Hundredorum Rolls for 1273. [2] All these entries point to the occupational nature of the name at that time.

Later, Johannes Slipar was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [2]

Early History of the Sleep family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sleep research. Another 135 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1276, 1574, 1600, 1729 and 1749 are included under the topic Early Sleep History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sleep Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Slape, Sleep, Sleap, Slape, Slepe, Sleip, Sleape, Sleapa, Sleeper and many more.

Early Notables of the Sleep family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Sleep Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Sleep migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sleep Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Lancelot Sleep, who arrived in Maryland sometime between 1640 and 1648
  • Lancelot Sleep, who arrived in Maryland in 1640-1648 [6]

Canada Sleep migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sleep Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Sleep, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834
  • Mary Sleep, aged 33, a widow, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breakwater" from Plymouth, England
  • Mary Sleep Junior, aged 4, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breakwater" from Plymouth, England
  • Lavinia Sleep, aged 2, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Breakwater" from Plymouth, England

Australia Sleep migration to Australia +

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

Sleep Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Sleep, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for life for larceny, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 19th August 1829, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Samuel Sleep, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Royal Admiral" in 1838 [8]
  • Stephen Sleep, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Royal Admiral" in 1838 [8]
  • Thomas Sleep, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Royal Admiral" in 1838 [8]
  • Joseph Sleep, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bruce" in 1846 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Sleep migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Sleep Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Sleep, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in Napier aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1879
  • Elizabeth Sleep, aged 20, who arrived in Napier aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1879
  • Frederick Sleep, aged 2, who arrived in Napier aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1879
  • John Sleep, aged 5 months, who arrived in Napier aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1879
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Sleep, (b. 1859), aged 20, Cornish settler departing on 30th May 1879 aboard the ship "Rakaia" going to Hawkes Bay, New Zealand arriving in port on 9th September 1879 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Sleep (post 1700) +

  • John Sleep, American special effects specialist, known for his work on Juno (2007), Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) and Scary Movie 3 (2003)
  • John Sleep, English medical researcher at King's College, London
  • Wayne Philip Colin Sleep MBE (b. 1948), English dancer, director, choreographer, actor and panellist, former Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet
  • Ms. Janice Sleep O.B.E., British recipient of the Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to national security [11]


  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/claudine
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ROYAL ADMIRAL 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838RoyalAdmiral.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY BRUCE 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846LadyBruce.htm
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to other ports, 1872 - 84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  11. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists


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