Show ContentsVassal History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Vassal family

The surname Vassal was first found in Gloucestershire, where Hugo Vassal was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1202. A few years later, the Latin form of the forename Vassallus de Aundfoilliis was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1221 for Rutland. In the same year, Henry Vassal was found in the Assize Rolls of Worcestershire. 1

Originally Norman French, derived from word "vassal," it probably figuratively means "young noble man", "valiant". The name was local to "De Lassales, Hautes-Pyrénées, in the Hautes-Pyrénées department Vassal." 2

Early History of the Vassal family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Vassal research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1586, 1625, 1628, 1630, 1667 and 1723 are included under the topic Early Vassal History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Vassal Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Vassal include Vassell, Vassel, Fassel and others.

Early Notables of the Vassal family

Notables of the family at this time include

  • Samuel Vassall (1586-1667), an English parliamentarian, second son of John Vassall, by his second wife, Anna Russell...

Vassal Ranking

In France, the name Vassal is the 3,088th most popular surname with an estimated 2,000 - 2,500 people with that name. 3

United States Vassal migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Vassal Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Vassal, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 4

Contemporary Notables of the name Vassal (post 1700) +

  • Guy Vassal (1941-2022), French playwright
  • Jean-Philippe Vassal (b. 1954), French architect and academic who jointly received the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Vassal 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: Sæpe pro Rege, semper pro Republica
Motto Translation: Often for the king, always for the state.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Dionne, N.-E., Les Canadiens-Francais Origine Des Familles. Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 1969. Print
  4. 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) on Facebook