Speke History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Speke reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Speke family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Speke is based on the Norman given name Espec.

Early Origins of the Speke family

The surname Speke 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 Speke family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Speke 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 Speke History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Speke Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Speke has been recorded under many different variations, including Speak, Speck, Speake, Speke and others.

Early Notables of the Speke 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 Speke Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Speke migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Spekes were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Speke Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Speke, who landed in Virginia in 1659 [3]
Speke Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Speke who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1854

Contemporary Notables of the name Speke (post 1700) +

  • Peter Speke, English Glastonbury Abbey trustee for 18 years, including six years as chairman
  • John Hanning Speke (1827-1864), African explorer and discoverer of the source of the Nile, second son of William Speke (1798–1887) of Jordans, near Ilminster, Somerset


  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
  3. ^ 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)


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