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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The name Wakefield has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family 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 Wakefield is occasionally derived from another settlement by the same name in Northumberland. The surname Wakefield belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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The surname Wakefield was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times. Wachefeld being King William's land, which included in 1066 two churches. 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 gruesomely killed for vengeance.

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Wakefield have been found, including Wakefield, Wakefeild and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wakefield research. Another 175 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1375 and 1665 are included under the topic Early Wakefield History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Wakefield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Wakefield, or a variant listed above:

Wakefield Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Wakefield settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Anne Wakefield settled in Massachusetts with her husband in 1638
  • William Wakefield settled in Massachusetts in 1638
  • William Wakefield, who arrived in Hampton, NH in 1638
  • Thomas Wakefield settled in Virginia in 1663


Wakefield Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John Wakefield, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1703

Wakefield Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • George Wakefield, aged 62, arrived in Connecticut in 1812
  • Nathaniel Wakefield, who arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817
  • Francis Wakefield, who landed in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817
  • Robert Wakefield, who landed in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817
  • Melville F Wakefield, who landed in Colorado in 1883

Wakefield Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Richard Wakefield, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Thomas Wakefield arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838
  • Henry Wakefield arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Himalaya" in 1849
  • Henry Wakefield, aged 41, a hair dresser, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Himalaya"
  • Joseph Wakefield, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee"


Wakefield Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • L Jern Wakefield landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1839 aboard the ship Tory
  • William Wakefield landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1839
  • Eliza Wakefield, aged 43, a sempstress, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Susan Wakefield, aged 22, a sempstress, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Isabella Wakefield, aged 15, a sempstress, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840


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  • Albert Gallatin Wakefield (b. 1804), American Republican politician, Mayor of Bangor, Maine, 1866-67
  • Timothy Stephen "Tim" Wakefield (b. 1966), American retired Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Lawrence Wakefield (1854-1940), American Democrat politician, Mayor of Lenoir, North Carolina, 1892-93; Member of North Carolina State Senate 33rd District, 1913-14
  • Laureda Wakefield, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1932
  • James W. Wakefield, American Republican politician, Mayor of Bath, Maine, 1885-89, 1894-95
  • George W. Wakefield, American politician, Circuit Judge in Iowa 4th District, 1885-86
  • George N. Wakefield (1806-1877), American politician, Mayor of Battle Creek, Michigan, 1872
  • Floyd L. Wakefield, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Washington 5th District, 1986
  • Ernest Alonzo Wakefield (b. 1868), American politician, U.S. Consul in Orillia, 1900-08; Rangoon, 1908-10; Port Elizabeth, 1910-17; Prince Rupert, 1919-26; Ensenada, 1927-29; Nuevitas, 1932
  • Edgar Charles Wakefield (1866-1920), American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in North Bay, 1906-11

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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.

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  6. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  11. ...

The Wakefield Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wakefield Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 23 April 2016 at 07:56.

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