Wess History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Wess arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Wess family lived in Staffordshire, at Weston-under-Lizard. The name literally means "dweller at the west farm," or "one who lived to the west of the village." [1]

"The English gazetteers give about fifty parishes and hamlets of this name, which signifies simply ' the western enclosure,' and corresponds with Easton, Norton, and Sutton. From divers of these, some of the families of Weston have sprung; but the widely-spread Westons of Surrey and Sussex are descended from the house of De Wistoneston, or Wiston, of Wiston, co. Sussex." [2]

Early Origins of the Wess family

The surname Wess was first found in Staffordshire where they held a family seat at Weston-under-Lizard, having been granted lands as a tenant in chief by William the Conqueror. Reginald Bailleul was from Bailleul-En-Gouffern at Orne, arrondisement of Argentan, in the canton of Trun, in Normandy. [3]

The parish of Kelvedon in Essex was once a family seat. "Felix Hall, the seat of Lord Western, a handsome modern mansion with an elegant portico, is situated on an eminence surrounded by a park." [4]

The Domesday Book of 1086 had two early entries for the family: Godwinus de Westuna in Huntingdonshire; and Adestan de Westuna in Cambridgeshire. [5]

Early rolls revealed the various spellings used throughout ancient Britain: Elyas de Westone in Lincolnshire c. 1160; Payn de Weston in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1268; William Weston in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296; and Alan ate Weston in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327. [1]

In Scotland, "there are places named Weston and Westoun in Lanarkshire, and a Weston near Dolphinston, Peeblesshire. William de Westone of Wyggetone rendered homage in 1296. John of Westone was juror on an inquisition at Peebles, 1304, and John de Westone held a ten-pound land in the tenement of Mertone near Edinburgh before 1315. William of Westone was in the king of England's service in France, 1369." [6]

Early History of the Wess family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wess research. Another 180 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1140, 1200, 1540, 1688, 1628, 1566, 1678, 1689, 1511, 1536, 1515, 1466, 1542, 1540, 1566, 1635, 1582, 1612, 1582, 1577, 1634, 1605, 1663, 1611, 1656, 1640, 1639, 1665, 1609, 1688, 1620, 1681, 1660, 1652, 1699, 1689, 1698, 1567 and 1573 are included under the topic Early Wess History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wess Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Weston, Atgate and others.

Early Notables of the Wess family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Weston, a 15th-century English merchant from Bristol who is believed to have been the first Englishman to lead an expedition to North America Sir Francis Weston (1511?-1536), was an English courtier, born about 1515, and the only son of Sir Richard Weston (1466?-1542.) Sir Francis was charged with high treason and adultery with the Queen Anne Boleyn. His father, Sir Richard was an English courtier and diplomatist, son of Edmund Weston, an adherent of Henry VII. Sir William Weston (d. 1540) was his brother. [7] Edward Weston (1566-1635), was a Roman Catholic controversialist, son of...
Another 167 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wess Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Wess family to Ireland

Some of the Wess family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Wess migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Wess or a variant listed above:

Wess Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Nik Wess, who arrived in America in 1864 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Wess (post 1700) +

  • Frank Wellington "Frank" Wess (1922-2013), American jazz musician, named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts in 2007


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. ^ 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)


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