Speaks History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Speaks was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. Speaks is based on the Norman given name Espec.

Early Origins of the Speaks family

The surname Speaks was first found in Lancashire where a Norman noble Le Espec was an under tenant of Roger de Poitou, and was granted the lands of Speke outside Liverpool in Lancashire. Soon after the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086, a descendant, Richard Le Espec acquired the manors of Wenworthy and Brampton Speke in the county of Devon, [1] which he held from Robert Fitzroy of Oakhampton. His descendent, William Le Espec married and acquired the estates of Gervois.

Walter Espec (d. 1153), was founder of Rievaulx Abbey, Yorkshire, and was probably the son of William Spech, who in 1085 held Warden, Bedfordshire, where some fifty years later Walter Espec founded and endowed an Abbey. "Espec's chief property was in Yorkshire, and he resided at Helmsley. Under Henry I he was Justice of the Forests and Itinerant Justice in the northern counties. Under Stephen he actively resisted the Scotch invasion. On 10 Jan. 1138 FitzDuncan failed in a night attack on Espec's castle of Wark. Then King David and his son Henry came up and formed a regular siege for three weeks, after which the main body passed on to Harry Northumberland. Three months later (c. 8 May) the garrison swooped down upon the Scotch king's commissariat, and had to submit to a second siege. The castle was stoutly defended by Walter's nephew, John de Bussey, but had to surrender about 11 Nov. " [2]

Early History of the Speaks family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Speaks research. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1592, 1661, 1661, 1653, 1683, 1675, 1681, 1681 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Speaks History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Speaks Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Speak, Speck, Speake, Speke and others.

Early Notables of the Speaks family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Speke of Whitelackington; and Sir Hugh Speke, 1st Baronet of Hasilbury, Wiltshire (died 1661), an English politician who sat...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Speaks Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Speaks family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Speaks or a variant listed above: George Speke who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1854; Anne Speake settled in Barbados in 1654; Henry and James Speak arrived in Philadelphia in 1845..



  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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