Show ContentsWailes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Wailes family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Wailes comes from when the family lived near a stone-built wall. Wailes is a local surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Other types of local surnames include topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. The surname Wailes referred to a person who lived beside a large stone wall, which was used either for the purpose of fortification, or to keep back the encroachment of the sea. Members of the Wailes family were established in Gloucestershire prior to the Norman Conquest of England, in 1066. By the time of the Conquest, they were major landholders in that county.

Early Origins of the Wailes family

The surname Wailes was first found in Gloucestershire where they held a family seat from very ancient times and appeared as holders of lands in the Domesday Book compiled in 1086 by King William of England. The name was from the Anglo Saxon Wal, meaning a stranger. Wales is a parish, in the union of Worksop, S. division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill in the West Riding of Yorkshire. "This parish, in the Domesday Survey called Walise, belonged to Morcar, Earl of Northumberland, in the reign of Edward the Confessor." [1]

Early History of the Wailes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wailes research. Another 134 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1210, 1303, 1352, 1620, 1679, 1647, 1728, 1588, 1666, 1760, 1789 and are included under the topic Early Wailes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wailes Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Wailes has appeared include Wall, Walls, Wale, Walles and others.

Early Notables of the Wailes family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Sir Thomas Wale (1303-1352), an English soldier and co-founder of the Knight of the Garter; William de Wall, the knight who accompanied Strongbow; Saint John Wall, O.F.M., (1620-1679), an English Catholic Franciscan friar, apprehended under suspicion of being a party to the Titus Oates plot, was executed and later honored...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wailes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Wailes family to Ireland

Some of the Wailes family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Wailes migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Wailes arrived in North America very early:

Wailes Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Friederic Wailes, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749 [2]
Wailes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Wailes, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1846 [2]
  • Andrews Wailes, who arrived in Mississippi in 1871 [2]

Australia Wailes migration to Australia +

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

Wailes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Wailes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Medway" in 1846 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Wailes (post 1700) +

  • Alexandria Wailes (b. 1975), American deaf actress, Tony Honors for Excellence Recipient, 2004
  • Edward Thompson Wailes (1903-1969), American diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State for Administration in 1953, United States Ambassador to South Africa in 1954 and United States Ambassador to Hungary in 1956
  • Rex Wailes OBE, FSA, F I Mech E (1901-1986), English engineer and historian who specializes in industrial archaeology
  • William Wailes (1808-1881), English businessman who owned one of England’s largest and most prolific stained glass workshops
  • Andrew Keith Wailes (b. 1971), Australian Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. 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)
  3. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MEDWAY 1846. Retrieved from on Facebook