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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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.


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]

Sykes has been spelled many different ways, including 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. Sikes, Sykes, Sykkes, Sikkes, Syks, Siks, Sike and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sykes research. Another 219 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1684 and 1756 are included under the topic Early Sykes History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 23 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sykes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 settled in Virginia in 1642
  • Jon Sykes, who arrived in Virginia in 1642
  • Thomas Sykes settled in Barbados in 1672
  • John Sykes, who arrived in Maryland in 1673
  • Bernard Sykes, who landed in Virginia in 1682

Sykes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Sykes, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Abram Sykes, who arrived in Alabama in 1858
  • William Sykes, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1868

Sykes Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Victory Sykes, who landed in Canada in 1831

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
  • Benjamin Sykes arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke of Bedford" in 1848
  • Thomas Sykes arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Munn" in 1849
  • 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
  • Thomas Sykes, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina"

Sykes Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • George Sykes, aged 24, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • Jane Sykes, aged 20, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • William Sykes, aged 26, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • Bessy Sykes, aged 20, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1840
  • Geo Sykes landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842


  • Paul Sykes (1937-1994), American folksinger
  • Roosevelt Sykes (1906-1983), American blues musician
  • 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. 1981), English rugby league footballer
  • Paul Sykes (b. 1943), English Eurosceptic businessman and political donor
  • Paul Sykes (1946-2007), English heavyweight boxer
  • John James Sykes (b. 1959), English rock guitarist
  • Paul Sykes (b. 1981), English professional rugby league footballer
  • Colonel William Henry Sykes FRS (1790-1872), English-born, Indian Army officer, politician and ornithologist
  • Colonel Sir Mark Sykes (1879-1919), 6th Baronet, an English traveler, Conservative Party politician



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.


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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  11. ...

The Sykes Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sykes Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 19 April 2016 at 08:43.

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