Show ContentsWakfield History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Wakfield family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living 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 Wakfield is occasionally derived from another settlement by the same name in Northumberland. The surname Wakfield 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 Wakfield family

The surname Wakfield 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 Wakfield family

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

Wakfield 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 Wakfield include Wakefield, Wakefeild and others.

Early Notables of the Wakfield family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Wakfield family

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 Wakfield or a variant listed above: 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 Wakfield 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