Show ContentsVavasour History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Vavasour is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Vavasour family lived in Yorkshire. Their name, however, is a reference to Le Vavassour, Normandy.

"Wace, in describing the second charge of the Conqueror at Hastings, tells us it was led by the Duke himself, at the head of 'a great company, vavassors of Normandy, who to save their lord would have put their own bodies between him and the enemie's blows.' In the case of the baronial Vavasours we must, however, adopt the former signification, as they claimed to derive their name from Sir Mauger le Valvasour, door-keeper to William the Conqueror. He is not to be found in Domesday; but his grandson Sir William, who witnessed Matilda de Percy's charter of Salley Abbey, appears in the Liber Niger as a considerable land-owner in Yorkshire, and was seated at Hazelwood, near Tadcaster, still the home of his representatives." 1

Early Origins of the Vavasour family

The surname Vavasour was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat anciently, after the Norman Conquest in 1066. They were originally from Le Vavassour in Normandy. "Sir Mauler le Vavasour, the Norman, is mentioned in Domesday Book, as holding in chief of the Percys, Earls of Northumberland, considerable manors and estates in Stutton, Eselwood, Saxhall, &c." 2

The township of Spaldington in the East Riding of Yorkshire was an ancient home to the family. "Spaldington Hall, the seat of the ancient family of Vavasour, and a fine specimen of the Elizabethan style, was taken down in 1838." 3

The township of Willitoft, again in the East Riding of Yorkshire has another early listing for the family. "This place was formerly the residence of the Vavasour family; it is now the property of Colonel Wyndham, who is lord of the manor." 3

Early History of the Vavasour family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Vavasour research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1299, 1440, 1478, 1483, 1485, 1495, 1506 and 1826 are included under the topic Early Vavasour History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Vavasour Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval 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. The name has been spelled Vavasour, Vavasor, Vavazor and others.

Early Notables of the Vavasour family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Sir John Vavasour KS (c.1440-1506), an English judge, made a Serjeant-at-Law in 1478 and appointed a King's Serjeant in 1483, followed by a 1485 appointment as Second Justice of Lancaster and a 1495 p...

Canada Vavasour migration to Canada +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Vavasour or a variant listed above:

Vavasour Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

New Zealand Vavasour 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:

Vavasour Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Vavasour, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship George Fife
  • William Vavasour, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "George Fyfe" in 1842
  • Mr. William Vavasour, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Fyffe" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 7th November 1842 5

Contemporary Notables of the name Vavasour (post 1700) +

  • Sir Geoffrey Vavasour,

  1. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook