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Where did the English Felstead family come from? What is the English Felstead family crest and coat of arms? When did the Felstead family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Felstead family history?
Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Felstead, Felsted, Fallstead, Fallsted, Fellsted, Fellstead, qaFellsted and many more.
First found in Essex where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book,  indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the village and lands of Felstead, (spelt Felesteda, Felstede and Phensteda) in the Hundred of Hinckford, held by Gilbert FitzSolomon from Holy Trinity Abbey in Caen, Normandy. This large village held two mills and a large Norman church.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Felstead research. Another 172 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1130 and 1203 are included under the topic Early Felstead History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Felstead Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Felstead or a variant listed above were:
Felstead Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century
The Felstead Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Felstead Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 16 February 2012 at 08:12.
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