Show ContentsWiles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Wiles 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 Wiles is an occupational name for a person employed in trapping fish. The surname Wiles is derived from the late Old English word wil, which means trick and was used to refer to mechanical devices such as windmills or traps. This derivation of the name Wiles is supported by the existence of the Old English word wyle, which refers to a wicker trap for catching fish, particularly eels. Historians also suggest that the surname may have also been a nickname applied to a cunning man or someone "of many wiles."

Early Origins of the Wiles family

The surname Wiles was first found in Sussex where they held a family seat from early times.

Early History of the Wiles family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wiles research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1558, 1573, 1685, 1693, 1761 and 1773 are included under the topic Early Wiles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wiles 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 Wiles, Willes, Wyles and others.

Early Notables of the Wiles family

Prominent in the family at this time was Richard Willes or Willey (fl. 1558-1573), English poetical writer, a native of Pulham in Dorset. 1Edward Willes (1693-1773), was an English Anglican Bishop of St David's and later Bishop of Bath and Wells. He died in London in 1773, and is buried in...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wiles Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wiles Ranking

In the United States, the name Wiles is the 2,657th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. 2

United States Wiles migration to the United States +

Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Wiles were among those contributors:

Wiles Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Bishop Wiles who settled in Virginia in 1607
  • Bishop Wiles, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607 3
  • John and Phillip Wiles, who settled in Maine in 1616
Wiles Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Wiles, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 3
  • Mary Wiles, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 3
  • Robert Wiles, who landed in Virginia in 1719 3
  • Jonathon Wiles, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1795
Wiles Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Wiles, who arrived in Maryland in 1850 3
  • John Wiles, who landed in Indiana in 1854 3

Australia Wiles migration to Australia +

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

Wiles Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Lydia Wiles, English Convict who was convicted in Norfolk, Norfolkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atwick" on 28 September 1837, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 4
  • Eliza Wiles, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 5
  • Griffin Wiles, aged 23, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad" 6
  • John Wiles, aged 22, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Punjab"

New Zealand Wiles 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:

Wiles Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Wiles, (b. 1806), aged 56, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 7
  • George Wiles, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aloe" in 1863
  • Ann Wiles, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aloe" in 1863

Contemporary Notables of the name Wiles (post 1700) +

  • Randall E. "Randy" Wiles (1951-2015), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played in five games for the Chicago White Sox in 1977
  • Michele Wiles, American principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre from 2005 to 2011
  • William "Billy" Wiles (b. 1971), American professional wrestler, better known by the ring names Billy Wiles and Bilvis Wesley
  • Jason Austin Wiles (b. 1970), American actor, best known for his role in the TV series Third Watch
  • Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948), American artist, member of the Society of American Artists
  • Lemuel Maynard Wiles (1826-1905), American landscape painter
  • Leon Stivers Wiles (1878-1918), American Republican politician, Mayor of Huntington, West Virginia, 1918 8
  • John Wiles, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for South Dakota State House of Representatives 5th District, 2010 8
  • George R. C. Wiles, American politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Mingo County, 1903; Member, West Virginia Public Service Commission, 1917 8
  • Douglass Wiles (b. 1952), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Florida State House of Representatives 20th District, 1997-; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Florida, 2004 8
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Suggested Readings for the name Wiles +

  • Wiles: 300 Years in America by Marie Davis Wiles.

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. Convict Records of Australia. Retreived 23rd August 2020 from
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from
  6. South Australian Register Wednesday 15th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Hyderabad 1854. Retrieved
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 20) . Retrieved from on Facebook