Waifer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Waifer is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Waifer is 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 Waifer family

The surname Waifer 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 Waifer family

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

Waifer 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 Wafer, Waffer, Waferer, Wafre, Wafrer, Wayfre, Wayfer, Wayferer, Wayford, Waford, Wauford and many more.

Early Notables of the Waifer 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 Waifer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Waifer family to Ireland

Some of the Waifer 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.

Migration of the Waifer family

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 Waifer or a variant listed above: settlers who were recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..



  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


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