Show ContentsWyse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of England produced the name of Wyse. It was given to a wise or learned person [1] [2], having derived from the Old English word wis, meaning wise or knowledgeable. [3]

Early Origins of the Wyse family

The surname Wyse was first found in Devon where they held a family seat anciently as Lords of the manor of Greston, at the time of the Conquest in 1066. "The ancient knightly family of Wise of Mount Wise in Stoke Damerel (Devonport) was one of the oldest families in the west of England: one of this family was High Sheriff of Devonshire in 1612." [4]

Another source confirms this history but in more detail. Sir Thomas Wise (c. 1576-1630), "signalized his ownership by building a stately mansion on the craggy headland opposite the domain of the Edgcumbes, and calling it, with that imitation which is the sincerest flattery, ' Mount Wise.' All but the name has long passed into oblivion, and cannon frown and soldiers dwell where the manor-house once stood." [5]

Johann se Wisa was listed as an 11th century Old English Byname and Ædwin Wise was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Devon in 1176. Later Roger le Wis was found in the Pipe Rolls for Sussex in 1203. [6]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Elias le Wyse, Oxfordshire; and Henry le Wyse, Huntingdonshire. [3]

Up north in Scotland, "William Wys was a canon of Moray in 1358, Thomas Wyse, canon of Caithness, 1381, and Robertas Wys was canon of the church of Aberdeen in 1386, 1391. Johannes Wyss on inquest in Stravelyn, 1411." [7]

Early History of the Wyse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wyse research. Another 199 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1645, 1511, 1522, 1603, 1648, 1687, 1668, 1676, 1695, 1767, 1719, 1729, 1653, 1738, 1646, 1687 and 1668 are included under the topic Early Wyse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wyse Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Wyse has appeared include Wise, Wyse and others.

Early Notables of the Wyse family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Michael Wise (1648-1687), an English organist and composer, Organist and Choirmaster at Salisbury Cathedral (1668), Gentleman of the Chapel Royal (1676.) Francis Wise (1695-1767), was an English archaeologist, born in the parish of All Saints, Oxford, son of Francis Wise, mercer, of Oxford. "In December 1719 he was appointed under-keeper of the Bodleian Library, and about this time he collated a manuscript in the Laud collection for the 1729 edition of Plutarch's 'Lives.'...
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wyse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wyse Ranking

In the United States, the name Wyse is the 15,948th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Wyse family to Ireland

Some of the Wyse family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Wyse migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Wyse arrived in North America very early:

Wyse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Wyse, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [9]
Wyse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Justice Wyse, aged 45, who arrived in New York in 1854 [9]
  • Louiza P Wyse, aged 16, who landed in New York in 1854 [9]
  • Anna Wyse, aged 12, who arrived in New York in 1854 [9]
  • Robert Wyse, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1856 [9]
  • Thomas Wyse, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1878 [9]

Canada Wyse migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wyse Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Wyse, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1837

Contemporary Notables of the name Wyse (post 1700) +

  • Lois Wyse (1926-2007), American advertising executive, author and columnist
  • Henry Washington Wyse (1918-2000), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • J. A. Wyse, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from District of Columbia, 1860 [10]
  • Harry Wyse, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Missouri State House of Representatives 7th District, 2012 [10]
  • Sir Thomas Wyse KCB (1791-1862), Irish politician and diplomat, the eldest son of Thomas Wyse of the manor of St. John, co. Waterford [11]
  • Charles "Charlie" Wyse, Canadian educator and former Canadian politician in the Legislative Assembly in British Columbia
  • Dr. Peter Sherlock Wyse Jackson (b. 1955), Irish botanist
  • William Wyse Fortes, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

The Wyse 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: Sapere aude
Motto Translation: Dare to be wise.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. 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. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  6. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. 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)
  8. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  9. 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)
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 15) . Retrieved from
  11. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2019 on Facebook