Show ContentsSwales History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Swales is one of the names that was brought to England in the wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Swales family lived in Yorkshire, at Swale.

Early Origins of the Swales family

The surname Swales was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Swale from ancient times. Although the Manor does not appear in the Domesday Book in 1086 the first recorded date is of John Swale who held the Lordship. He married Alice, daughter of Gilbert de Gaunt, and related to John of Gaunt about 1150.

At this time he held the manor of West Grenton or Grinton in Swaledale. South Stainley in the West Riding of Yorkshire was an ancient family seat. "This place was the property of Sir Solomon Swale, who suffered severely for his loyalty during the parliamentary war, and was presented with the first baronetcy conferred after the Restoration. Sir Solomon, in those unsettled times, having neglected to sue out a renewal of the lease by which he held some property under the crown, a chancery clerk, noticing the omission, obtained it for himself, and involved the Baronet in a litigation which, in a few years, ended in his becoming a prisoner in the king's bench, where he died of a broken heart. Stainley Hall, the ancient family seat, is now a ruin." 1

Early History of the Swales family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Swales research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1545, 1603, 1606, 1608 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Swales History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Swales Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Swales family name include Swales, Swale, Swalles, Swaile, Swailles, Swailes and many more.

Early Notables of the Swales family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Richard Swale (1545?-1608), English civilian, born in Yorkshire about 1545, son of Thomas Swale of Askham-Richard in Yorkshire. "Swale was knighted by James I at Whitehall on 23 July 1603. On 28 May 1606...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Swales Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Swales migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Swales family to immigrate North America:

Swales Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Swales, aged 41, who landed in Virginia in 1813 2
  • Thomas Swales, who arrived in Morgan County, Illinois in 1835 2
  • Catherine Swales, aged 31, who landed in America from England, in 1892
  • Mary Swales, aged 49, who landed in America from England, in 1892
  • Thomas Swales, aged 18, who settled in America, in 1895
Swales Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Emily Swales, aged 50, who settled in America from Derbyshire, in 1903
  • Albert Wn. Swales, aged 45, who landed in America from Rarrow Leviners, England., in 1908
  • Ernest Swales, aged 38, who immigrated to the United States from Openshaw, England, in 1909
  • Albert W. Swales, aged 44, who immigrated to America from Barrow in Furness, England, in 1910
  • Sarah Ann Swales, aged 44, who landed in America from Barrow in Furness, England, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Swales 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:

Swales Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Swales, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Josephine Willis" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th February 1855 3

West Indies Swales migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. 4
Swales Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • George Swales who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635
  • Geo Swales, aged 19, who arrived in St Christopher in 1635 2
  • Mr. George Swales, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Matthew" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 5

Contemporary Notables of the name Swales (post 1700) +

  • Peter J. Swales (1948-2022), Welsh historian of psychoanalysis and former assistant to the Rolling Stones
  • Penelope Swales, Australian songwriter, singer and musician 6
  • Kim Swales, British Professor of Economics
  • John Malcolm Swales (b. 1938), British linguist
  • Ian Cameron Swales (b. 1953), British Liberal Democrat politician
  • Captain Edwin Swales VC, DFC (1915-1945), South African pilot awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII 7

The Swales 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: Jesu, esto mihi Jesus
Motto Translation: Jesus, be my Savior

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. 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)
  3. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  5. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021 from
  6. Penelope Swales. (Retrieved 2011, May 19) Penelope Swales. Retrieved from
  7. World War 2 - SWALES, Edwin. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Edwin Swales. Retrieved from on Facebook