Show ContentsWebstere History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Webstere emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. Occupational surnames were derived from the common trades of the medieval era. The surname Webstere is an occupational name for a weaver of cloth. The surname Webstere is derived from the Old English word webbestre, which originally meant female weaver. [1] Nevertheless, this name came to commonly refer to male weavers in later times.

Early Origins of the Webstere family

The surname Webstere was first found in Derbyshire where they held considerable estates at Balsover from about the 13th century. "The Websters have their principal home in Derbyshire and afterwards in Yorkshire and Lancashire. They are also fairly represented in the eastern counties between the Humber and the Thames." [2]

There was only one listing of the family in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: John le Webestere who was listed in Norfolk at that time. However, by the time of the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, there were more listings with spellings that are more contemporary: Alicia Wryght, huswyfe, webster; Robertas Webester, webster; Willelmus Webester, webster. [3] For occupational names such as these, the "occupation" was frequently listed after the entry.

Further to the north in Scotland, where the name had the same occupation, entries were later which could suggest a migration of the family there. Additionally, the name was often rendered in the Latin form of "textor." Robert textor de Inuerdoret was a witness in 1288, Malcolm Wobstare, was burgess of Stirling in 1436 and the house of William the weaver (textor) in Lanark is mentioned in the fifteenth century. [4]

Early History of the Webstere family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Webstere research. Another 80 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1580, 1625, 1571, 1576, 1610, 1682, 1689, 1758, 1689, 1722 and are included under the topic Early Webstere History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Webstere Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Webster, Webstere and others.

Early Notables of the Webstere family (pre 1700)

Prominent in the family at this time was John Webster (1580?-1625?), English dramatist, the son of a London tailor. "The father may be identical either with John Webster who was admitted to the freedom of the Merchant Taylors' Company on 10 Dec. 1571, or with John Webster who attained to the like position...
Another 52 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Webstere Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Webstere family to Ireland

Some of the Webstere family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Webstere family

An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Webstere arrived in North America very early: Charles Webister settled in Ochre Pit Cove, Newfoundland, in 1801; James Webster settled in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1818; Francis Webster arrived in Virginia in 1635.

The Webstere 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: Fides et justitia
Motto Translation: Faith and justice.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. 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) on Facebook