Westlake History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Westlake history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Westlake history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Westlake family originally lived in Devon.Westlake is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. The name Westlake indicates that the original bearer lived by the westernmost of a group of lakes.

Early Origins of the Westlake family

The surname Westlake was first found in Devon where the place name, Westlake is still found today near Langbrook and Marjery Cross. Ironically, the place name is not near a lake. Today there are no fewer that seven places named Westlake in the United States, and one each in Australia and New Zealand.

In the parish of Kilkhampton, Cornwall, "Elmsworthy, which was for some time a seat of the Westlakes, is now a farm house, the property of Mr. Galsworthy, of Hartland. The last of the Westlake family died in 1772 in such indigent circumstances, that he was supported by the parish. It is a singular fact, that this man, the representative of a wealthy family, was twice nominated as sheriff of the county, while he was an inhabitant of the parish poorhouse. Such is the instability of all human greatness! Within the church there are many splendid monuments of the Grenville family, and memorials of the Orchards of Aldercombe, the Westlakes of Elmsworthy, and the Waddons of Tonacombe in Moorwinstow." [1]

Early History of the Westlake family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Westlake research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 133 and 1333 are included under the topic Early Westlake History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Westlake Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Westlake, Westlock, Westloke, Weslake and others.

Early Notables of the Westlake family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Westlake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Westlake migration to the United States +

Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Westlake:

Westlake Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Phillip Westlake, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Philip Westlake, aged 20, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [2]
  • John Westlake, who arrived in Maryland in 1664 [2]
  • Magdalen Westlake, who landed in Maryland in 1664 [2]
Westlake Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Westlake, who settled in Maryland in 1775
Westlake Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Smith Westlake, who landed in New York in 1847 [2]
  • Richard Westlake, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1849 [2]
  • William Westlake, who arrived in Schuyler County, Illinois in 1860 [2]

Canada Westlake migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Westlake Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Westlake, aged 24, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Amynta" from Plymouth, England
  • John Westlake, aged 29, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Amynta" from Plymouth, England

Australia Westlake migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Westlake Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William John Tucker Westlake, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Brightman" in 1840 [3]
  • Catherine Westlake, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Brightman" in 1840 [3]
  • Simon Westlake, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Theresa" in 1847 [4]
  • Jane Westlake, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1849 [5]
  • Richard Westlake, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sea Queen" in 1850 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Westlake migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Westlake Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Simon Westlake, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harwood" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 4th November 1858 [7]
  • Mrs. Ellen Westlake, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harwood" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 4th November 1858 [7]
  • Miss Agnes Westlake, (b. 1859), aged 7 months, English settler from Somerset travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "William Miles" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st August 1860 [8]
  • Mrs. Sarah Westlake, (b. 1833), aged 27, English ironer from Somerset travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "William Miles" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st August 1860 [8]
  • Mr. Thomas Westlake, (b. 1853), aged 7, English settler from Somerset travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "William Miles" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st August 1860 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Westlake (post 1700) +

  • Waldon Thomas "Wally" Westlake (1920-2019), American Major League Baseball utility player who had a ten-year career from 1947 to 1956
  • Donald Edwin Westlake (1933-2008), American writer and novelist, who specialized in crime fiction, three-time Edgar Award winner, grandmaster of the Mystery Writers of America in 1933
  • Wallace Ralston Westlake (1907-1978), American politician, Mayor of Columbus, Ohio, 1960-63 [9]
  • Jacob Westlake, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly, 1833, 1837 [9]
  • Ellis J. Westlake (b. 1854), American politician, Member of Minnesota State Senate 31st District, 1915-18 [9]
  • Charlie Westlake, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Florida 11th District, 2000 [9]
  • Charles E. Westlake, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, 1872-86 [9]
  • Albert J. Westlake (1874-1951), American politician, Mayor of Rahway, New Jersey, 1906-07 [9]
  • John Westlake (1828-1913), English international lawyer
  • Gregory Westlake (b. 1986), Canadian Para-Alpine Olympic medalist
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William Henry Frederick Westlake, British C O  A , who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [10]


  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BRIGHTMAN 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Brightman.htm
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) THERESA 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Theresa.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The MARY ANN 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849MaryAnn.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SEA QUEEN 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850SeaQueen.htm
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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