Wafer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Wafer is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest in 1066. It is a name for a "waferer, maker or seller of wafers or thin cakes. The waferers seem to have been chiefly concerned with the provision of the eucharistic bread but also sold sweet, spiced cakes, the ‘wafers piping hot.’ " [1]

Early Origins of the Wafer family

The surname Wafer was first found in Herefordshire where Simon le Wafre, le Wafrer was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1212. As an occupational name, early scattered entries of the family with a wide variety of spellings is to be expected. le Wafrer was found in Shropshire the Assize Rolls for 1221; le Wafre in the Assize Rolls for Warwickshire in 1222; and Ralph le Waverer in the Feet of Fines for Yorkshire c. 1227. In Warwickshire, Ricardus filius Waifier was found in the Pipe Rolls in 1180; and Richard Waifer was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1242. Later Ranus Wayfer was found in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1267. [1]

"This name occurs frequently in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; and it is still borne by Hopton-Wafre in Shropshire, and Tedston-Wafre in Herefordshire. Robert le Wafre, in 1253, held Hopton in capite of the Earl of Hereford of the Honour of Brecknock; and Tedstone under John de Wildebouf of the same Honour; both of which were brought in marriage by his only child, Lucia, to a; younger son of Lord Mortimer of Wigmore. The obit of Alice, mother of the above-mentioned Robert, was annually celebrated in Hereford Cathedral. John le Wafre 20 Ed. I held two virgates of land at Marston by the service of conducting the treasure of our Lord the King from Hereford to London, as often as he should be summoned by the Sheriff, with one horse and an iron helmet, at the costs of the King, to wit, twelve pence a day towards London, and returning at his own proper costs." [2]

Early History of the Wafer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wafer research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1487, 1640, 1705, 1695 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Wafer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wafer Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Wafer, Waffer, Waferer, Wafre, Wafrer, Wayfre, Wayfer, Wayferer, Wayford, Waford, Wauford and many more.

Early Notables of the Wafer family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Lionel Wafer (1640-1705), a Welsh explorer, buccaneer and privateer; originally a ship's surgeon but joined Bartholomew Sharp, he later settled...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wafer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wafer Ranking

In the United States, the name Wafer is the 14,717th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Wafer family to Ireland

Some of the Wafer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Wafer migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Wafer name or one of its variants:

Wafer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Wafer, aged 27, who arrived in Maryland in 1812 [4]

New Zealand Wafer 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:

Wafer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Jeremiah Wafer, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Kenilworth" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 2nd May 1857 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Wafer (post 1700) +

  • Vakeaton Quamar "Von" Wafer (b. 1985), American professional basketball player

Hillsborough disaster
  • Colin Wafer (1970-1989), English bank clerk who was attending the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, Yorkshire when the stand allocated area became overcrowded and 96 people were crushed in what became known as the Hillsborough disaster and he died from his injuries [6]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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)
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ Hillsborough Victims (retreived 21st March 2021). Retreived from https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/15/remembering-96-victims-hillsborough-disaster-30-years-9206566/


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