Waites History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain were the first to use the name of Waites. The name had a practical origin since it came from when its initial bearer worked as a watchman. This surname comes from the Anglo-Norman-French word waite, which means watch. [1]

"To the former title of this official duty it is we owe the fact of our still terming, any company of night serenaders 'waits,' and especially those bands of strolling minstrels who keep up the good old custom of watching in Christmas morning. A good old custom, I say, even though it may cost us a few pence, and rouse us somewhat rudely, may be, from our slumbers." [2]

Waits or Waites were British town pipers. Up until 1835, every British town and city of note had a band of Waites and more often than not, they played and instrument called the Wait-pipe.

Early Origins of the Waites family

The surname Waites was first found in the Norman Exchequer Rolls of 1180, where Robert La Waite is entered. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Robert le Weyte, Oxfordshire; Sarra le Weyte, Oxfordshire; and Ralph le Weyte, or Wayte, Essex. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes Wayte; and Willelmus Wayte. [2]

Roger le Wayte was listed in Suffolk in 1221; Hugh le Weyt was listed in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1251; Roger le Wate in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296; and Adam le Whaite was registered in Gloucestershire in 1349. [4]

"Adam de Wayte, in 1306, held in Lincolnshire; and a monumental brass in Stoke-Charity Church commemorates Thomas Wayte, who died in 1482." [3]

Further to the north in Scotland, the name had the same meaning so accordingly, early records were founds there too. Adam Wayt, was a witness in Aberbrothoc, 1312, and Thomas dictus Weyt, was a chaplain in Inverness in 1361. Huchown the Wate was a tacksman in Grenyng and Bankis in Marwek, 1492. [5]

Early History of the Waites family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Waites research. Another 178 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1611, 1699, 1595, 1665, 1636, 1795, 1610, 1505, 1525, 1684, 1665, 1634, 1688, 1634, 1642, 1643, 1747 and 1777 are included under the topic Early Waites History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Waites Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Waites include Waite, Wait, Wayte, Waits, Waight and others.

Early Notables of the Waites family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Nicholas Waite; and Thomas (Wayte) Waite, (fl. 1634-1688) an English soldier who fought for Parliament in the English Civil War, a member of the Long Parliament, and one of the regicides of King Charles I. "According to Royalist authors, he was the son of an alehouse-keeper at Market Overton in Rutland. He was more probably the Thomas Waite, son of Henry Waite of Wymondham, Leicestershire...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Waites Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Waites Ranking

In the United States, the name Waites is the 6,286th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Waites family to Ireland

Some of the Waites family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Waites migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled 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 ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Waites or a variant listed above:

Waites Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Waites, who landed in New Jersey in 1675 [7]

Australia Waites migration to Australia +

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

Waites Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Waites, aged 23, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Catherine" [8]
  • William Waites, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Catherine" in 1851 [8]

New Zealand Waites 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:

Waites Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Waites, (b. 1839), aged 24, British farm labourer, from Norfolk travelling from London aboard the ship "Metropolis" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th June 1863 [9]
  • Mr. Waites, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "James Nicol Fleming" arriving in Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand on 24th May 1874 [9]

West Indies Waites migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [10]
Waites Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Rebecca Waites, who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1654

Contemporary Notables of the name Waites (post 1700) +

  • Keisha Sean Waites (b. 1972), American politician, Member of the Georgia House of Representatives (2012-)
  • Luigi Waites (1927-2010), American jazz drummer and vibraphonist
  • Thomas G. Waites (b. 1955), American actor
  • Brian Waites (b. 1940), English professional golfer
  • Scott Waites (b. 1977), English professional darts player, former Winmau World Masters champion, WDF World Cup singles' champion and Zuiderduin Masters champion
  • Richard Waites (b. 1963), British actor
  • Terry Waites (b. 1933), Australian rules footballer

RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Martha Mattie Pinde Waites, Canadian 1st Class Passenger, Maid to the Burnside family from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [11]


The Waites Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pro aris et focis
Motto Translation: For our altars and our home.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CATHERINE 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Catherine.htm
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  11. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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