Show ContentsVokes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Vokes is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Vokes family lived in Vaux or Vallibus, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

Early Origins of the Vokes family

The surname Vokes was first found in Cumberland where they held a family seat in Gillesland from ancient times. They were descended from Harold de Vaux, Lord of Vaux in Normandy who came into England at the time of the Conquest accompanied by his three sons, Hubert, Rannulf, and Robert. Their main seats became the Lords of Gillesland, the Lords of Tryermayne, and in Vaux in Normandy. "From Hubert descended the Barons Vaux of Gillesland, which line terminated in an heiress, who carried the Barony of Gillesland to the family of Multon, from which it passed to that of Dacre. Ranulph, the second son, was ancestor to the Vaux's of Tryermayne, and maternally of Lord Brougham and Vaux. Robert, the third son, was the ancestor of the Lords of Harrowden." [1]

Robert de Vals, de Valibus, de Vaux was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as holding lands in Essex and Norfolk. [2] Robert de Wals, de Valllbus was recorded in 1134-1140 and in 1188 as holding lands in Norfolk. Ralph de Vaus was a Knights Templar in Yorkshire in 1185 and Richard de Vause was recorded in the 12th century in Leicestershire. [3]

Specifically, Watton in Norfolk was an ancient home of the family. "This place is of considerable antiquity, and prior to 1204 appears to have had the grant of a market, which during that year was suspended by writ of inquiry, but was soon after restored to Oliver de Vaux, Lord of the Manor." [4]

Records of the family were found in St. Ive, Cornwall. "The manor of Dinnerdake, or Dunerdake, was at a very early period in the family of Vaux, by one of whom it was forfeited about the year 1450. It was granted by Edward IV. to Avery Conburgh." [5]

Early History of the Vokes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Vokes research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1969, 1460, 1523, 1509, 1556, 1535, 1595, 1562, 1637, 1519, 1585, 1559, 1587, 1588, 1661, 1591, 1663, 1605 and 1635 are included under the topic Early Vokes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Vokes Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Vose, Voase, Vaux, Voxe, Voaux, Vokes and others.

Early Notables of the Vokes family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (c. 1460-1523), an English soldier and courtier and early member of the House of Commons; Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron Vaux of Harrowden KB (1509-1556), an English poet; William Vaux, 3rd Baron Vaux of Harrowden (c. 1535-1595), an English peer; and his third daughter, Anne Vaux (c. 1562-1637), a...
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Vokes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Vokes migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Vokes or a variant listed above:

Vokes Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Vokes, who settled in Virginia in 1652
Vokes Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Walton Vokes, who arrived in New Jersey in 1764 [6]
Vokes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Geo Vokes, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1827 [6]

Australia Vokes migration to Australia +

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

Vokes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Harriett Vokes who was convicted in Bath, Somerset, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Vokes (post 1700) +

  • Jessie Catherine Biddulph Vokes (1851-1884), English actress, sister of Frederick Vokes, born in London
  • Victoria Vokes (1853-1894), English actress, sister of Frederick Vokes, born in London
  • Frederick Mortimer Vokes (1846-1888), English actor and dancer, son of Frederick Vokes, a costumier, born in London, 22 Jan. 1846 [8]
  • Samuel Michael "Sam" Vokes (b. 1989), Wales international football forward
  • Major General Christopher Vokes CB, CBE, GOC (1904-1985), Canadian Occupation Force, Germany 1945, Officer of Legion of Honour (France), Croix de Guerre avec Palme (France), Order of Golden Ariston Andrias (Greece)

  1. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  6. 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)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from
  8. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 Jan. 2019 on Facebook