Show ContentsWakefeld History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Wakefeld is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived at Wakefield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. "Its name, in the Domesday Survey Wachefeld, is of Saxon origin. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, it formed part of the royal demesnes; and, after the Conquest, was granted by Henry I. to William, Earl Warren, with whose descendants it remained till the reign of Edward III. " [1]

However, the surname Wakefeld is occasionally derived from another settlement by the same name in Northumberland. The surname Wakefeld belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Wakefeld family

The surname Wakefeld was first found in Yorkshire where Wachefeld, being King William's land was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [2]

Early English rolls provide us a glimpse of the spelling variations used through Medieval times. Today we typically need to look beyond the spellings of these entries and concentrate on on a phonetic appreciation of the names. Lager de Wakfeld was listed in the Assize Rolls for Yorkshire in 1219; Thomas de Wakfeld in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1342; and Richard Wakefeld was found in Yorkshire in 1415. [3]

One of the more interesting first mentions of the name was "Peter of Wakefield or Peter of Pontefract (died 1213), an English hermit. He prophesied that King John's crown would be passed to another by next Ascension Day, 23 May 1213. This prophecy spread throughout Britain, even to France. King John had him imprisoned and when the forecasted day came and went, had him "dragged by horses to Wareham and there hanged with his son. " [4]

Early History of the Wakefeld family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wakefeld research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1375, 1665, 1537 and 1575 are included under the topic Early Wakefeld History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wakefeld Spelling Variations

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Wakefeld has been spelled many different ways, including Wakefield, Wakefeild and others.

Early Notables of the Wakefeld family (pre 1700)

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wakefeld Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Wakefeld family

Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Wakefelds to arrive in North America: Thomas Wakefield settled in Virginia in 1635; Anne Wakefield settled in Massachusetts with her husband in 1638; John Wakefeild settled in Virginia in 1635.

The Wakefeld 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: Arudua vinco
Motto Translation: I conquer difficulties.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 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. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook