Tregellas History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Tregellas history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Tregellas history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Tregellas family originally lived in Cornwall at the manor of Tregalles, near Falmouth.

Early Origins of the Tregellas family

The surname Tregellas was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Tregalles. One of the first on record as holding the family estates was a Nicholas de Tregelles in the year 1295. Although the 'de' prefix would seem to indicate a Norman/French or Breton origin it was not uncommon for Cornish People to adopt the prefix, particularly if they traveled in court circles. The language of the court was at the time Norman/French.

Early History of the Tregellas family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tregellas research. Another 155 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tregellas History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tregellas Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Tregelles, Tregellas, Tregillas, Tregilles and others.

Early Notables of the Tregellas family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Tregellas Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Tregellas migration to the United States +

In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Tregellas

Tregellas Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Susan Tregellas and her family, who sailed to the west coast of North America in 1862

New Zealand Tregellas 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:

Tregellas Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Tregellas, (b. 1850), aged 22, Cornish farm labourer departing on 13th June 1872 aboard the ship "Ballarat" going to Hawkes Bay, New Zealand arriving in port on 15th September 1872 [1]
  • Mr. Jonathan H. Tregellas, (b. 1851), aged 21, Cornish farm labourer departing on 13th June 1872 aboard the ship "Ballarat" going to Hawkes Bay, New Zealand arriving in port on 15th September 1872 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Tregellas (post 1700) +

  • Walter Hawken Tregellas (1831-1894), Cornish miscellaneous writer, born at Truro, the eldest son of John Tabois Tregellas (1792–1863), merchant at Truro, purser of Cornish mines, and author of many stories written in the local dialect of the county


  1. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to other ports, 1872 - 84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf


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