Sykes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Sykes comes from the family having resided in the county of Cumberland. Sykes is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. During the Middle Ages, as society became more complex, individuals needed a way to be distinguishable from others. Toponymic surnames were developed as a result of this need. Various features in the area or landscape were used to distinguish people from one another. In this case the original bearers of the surname Sykes were named due to their close proximity to a marshy stream or damp gully. The surname was originally derived from Sikes-Dyke near Carlisle in Cumberland.

Early Origins of the Sykes family

The surname Sykes was first found in Cumberland at Sikes-Dyke. Another branch of the family was found in the parish of Sledmere in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

"Sledmere House, a spacious mansion of stone, the seat of Sir Tatton Sykes, Bart., is seated near the foot of an acclivity, in a beautiful and finely-wooded park, south of the village; it was built by Sir Christopher, the second Baronet, from his own designs, and was improved and enriched by his son, the late Sir Mark Masterman Sykes, brother of the present Baronet. Sledmere Castle, on the east side of the park, is a modern edifice. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Sir Tatton. The church, which stands within the park, is a neat fabric, consisting of a nave, chancel, and square tower, and containing some handsome monuments to the Sykes family." [1]

Again in the East Riding of Yorkshire, we found another record of the family at Wintringham. "The farm of Linton, the property of Sir Tatton Sykes, was the site of a monastic cell subordinate to the abbey of Scarborough." [1]

Early History of the Sykes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sykes research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1684, 1756, 1713, 1714 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Sykes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sykes Spelling Variations

Sykes has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Sikes, Sykes, Sykkes, Sikkes, Syks, Siks, Sike and many more.

Early Notables of the Sykes family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Arthur Ashley Sykes (1684-1756), an English latitudinarian divine, born in London, son of Arthur Sykes of Ardeley, near Stevenage, Hertfordshire. " On 7 Feb...
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sykes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Sykes migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Sykess to arrive on North American shores:

Sykes Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Sykes, who settled in Virginia in 1642
  • Jon Sykes, who arrived in Virginia in 1642 [2]
  • Thomas Sykes, who settled in Barbados in 1672
  • John Sykes, who arrived in Maryland in 1673 [2]
  • Bernard Sykes, who landed in Virginia in 1682 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Sykes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Sykes, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844 [2]
  • Abram Sykes, who arrived in Alabama in 1858 [2]
  • William Sykes, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1868 [2]

Canada Sykes migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sykes Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Victory Sykes, who landed in Canada in 1831

Australia Sykes migration to Australia +

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

Sykes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Sykes, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [3]
  • Benjamin Sykes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke of Bedford" in 1848 [4]
  • Thomas Sykes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Munn" in 1849 [5]
  • Thomas Sykes, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [6]
  • Thomas Sykes, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina" [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Sykes 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:

Sykes Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Sykes, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Brazil Packet" arriving in New Zealand in 1837 [8]
  • George Sykes, aged 24, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • Jane Sykes, aged 20, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • William Sykes, aged 26, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • Bessy Sykes, aged 20, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Sykes (post 1700) +

  • Paul Sykes (1937-1994), American folksinger
  • Roosevelt Sykes (1906-1983), American blues musician
  • William J. Sykes, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • Colonel William Henry Sykes FRS (1790-1872), English-born, Indian Army officer, politician and ornithologist,son of Samuel Sykes of Friezing Hall, Yorkshire, the descendant of the Drighlington branch of an old Yorkshire family
  • Sir Tatton Sykes (1772-1863), English "patron of the turf," younger brother of Sir Mark Masterman Sykes
  • William Henry Sykes (1790-1872), English naturalist and soldier, son of Samuel Sykes of Friezing Hall, Yorkshire, the descendant of the Drighlington branch of an old Yorkshire family
  • Sir Mark Masterman Sykes (1771-1823), English book-collector, born on 20 Aug. 1771, eldest son of Sir Christopher Sykes (1749–1801), 2nd Baronet, of Sledmere, Yorkshire
  • Godfrey Sykes (1825-1866), English decorative artist, born at Malton, Yorkshire
  • Eric Sykes CBE (1923-2012), English radio, television and film writer, actor and director, best known for his work on The Goon Show, recipient of the 1992 Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Paul Sykes (b. 1943), English Eurosceptic businessman and political donor
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Sykes 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: Sapiens qui assiduus
Motto Translation: He is wise who is industrious.


  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. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DUKE OF BEDFORD 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848DukeofBedford.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOHN MUNN 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849JohnMunnPassengers.htm
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1849
  7. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MEDINA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/medina1852.shtml
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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