Wakefield History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Wakefield has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived at Wakefield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. "Its name, in the Domesday Survey Wachefeld, is of Saxon origin. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, it formed part of the royal demesnes; and, after the Conquest, was granted by Henry I. to William, Earl Warren, with whose descendants it remained till the reign of Edward III. " [1]

However, the surname Wakefield is occasionally derived from another settlement by the same name in Northumberland. The surname Wakefield belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Wakefield family

The surname Wakefield was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times. Wachefeld being King William's land, which included in 1066 two churches.

One of the more interesting first mentions of the name was Peter of Wakefield or Peter of Pontefract (died 1213), an English hermit. He prophesied that King John's crown would be passed to another by next Ascension Day, 23 May 1213. This prophecy spread throughout Britain, even to France. King John had him imprisoned and when the forecasted day came and went, had him "dragged by horses to Wareham and there hanged with his son. " [2]

Early History of the Wakefield family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wakefield research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1375, 1665, 1537 and 1575 are included under the topic Early Wakefield History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wakefield Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Wakefield have been found, including Wakefield, Wakefeild and others.

Early Notables of the Wakefield family (pre 1700)

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wakefield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Wakefield migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Wakefield, or a variant listed above:

Wakefield Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Wakefield, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Anne Wakefield, who settled in Massachusetts with her husband in 1638
  • William Wakefield, who settled in Massachusetts in 1638
  • William Wakefield, who arrived in Hampton, NH in 1638 [3]
  • Thomas Wakefield, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wakefield Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Wakefield, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1703 [3]
Wakefield Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Wakefield, aged 62, who arrived in Connecticut in 1812 [3]
  • Nathaniel Wakefield, who arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817 [3]
  • Francis Wakefield, who landed in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817 [3]
  • Robert Wakefield, who landed in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1817 [3]
  • Melville F Wakefield, who landed in Colorado in 1883 [3]

Australia Wakefield migration to Australia +

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

Wakefield Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Richard Wakefield, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Thomas Wakefield, who arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838 [5]
  • Henry Wakefield, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Himalaya" in 1849 [6]
  • Henry Wakefield, aged 41, a hair dresser, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Himalaya" [6]
  • Joseph Wakefield, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Wakefield 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:

Wakefield Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • L Jern Wakefield, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1839 aboard the ship Tory
  • William Wakefield, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1839
  • Col. William Wakefield, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tory" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 20th September 1839 [8]
  • Mr. E.J. Wakefield, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tory" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 20th September 1839 [8]
  • Eliza Wakefield, aged 43, a sempstress, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Wakefield (post 1700) +

  • Timothy Stephen "Tim" Wakefield (b. 1966), American retired Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Lawrence Wakefield (1854-1940), American Democrat politician, Mayor of Lenoir, North Carolina, 1892-93; Member of North Carolina State Senate 33rd District, 1913-14 [9]
  • Laureda Wakefield, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1932 [9]
  • James W. Wakefield, American Republican politician, Mayor of Bath, Maine, 1885-89, 1894-95 [9]
  • George W. Wakefield, American politician, Circuit Judge in Iowa 4th District, 1885-86 [9]
  • George N. Wakefield (1806-1877), American politician, Mayor of Battle Creek, Michigan, 1872 [9]
  • Floyd L. Wakefield, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Washington 5th District, 1986 [9]
  • Ernest Alonzo Wakefield (b. 1868), American politician, U.S. Consul in Orillia, 1900-08; Rangoon, 1908-10; Port Elizabeth, 1910-17; Prince Rupert, 1919-26; Ensenada, 1927-29; Nuevitas, 1932 [9]
  • Edgar Charles Wakefield (1866-1920), American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in North Bay, 1906-11 [9]
  • C. L. Wakefield, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 1924 [9]
  • ... (Another 27 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. William Henry Wakefield (1889-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [10]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Harry Wakefield (1921-1939), born in Whitchurch, Hampshire, England, British Marine with the Royal Marine aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [11]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mrs. Mary Wakefield, English 1st Class Passenger residing in Honolulu, Hawaii Territory, USA returning to England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [12]


The Wakefield 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: Arudua vinco
Motto Translation: I conquer difficulties.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  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. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Almorah voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1817 with 180 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/almorah/1817
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The PESTONJEE BOMANJEE 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838PestonjeeBomanjee.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The HIMALAYA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Himalaya.htm
  7. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 15th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Pestonjee Bomanjee 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/hyderabad1854.shtml.
  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 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  11. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  12. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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