Wilkey Family from Anglo Saxon times onwards:
history of the most ancient Anglo / Saxon surname of Wilkey reaches
far into the chronicles of the Saxon race. The Saxon Chronicle, compiled
by monks in the 10th century, now reposes in the British Museum.
History researchers have examined reproductions of such ancient manuscripts
as the Doomsday Book ( 1086 ), the Ragman Rolls ( 1291 - 1296), the
Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers,
baptismals, tax records and other ancient documents. They found the
first record of the name Wilkey in Kent where they had been seated
from very ancient times, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066,
and were Lords of the manor of Ellington House and Blackheath in that
Different spellings were encountered in the research of your surname.
Throughout the centuries your name, Wilkey, occurred in many records,
manuscripts and documents but not always with your exact spelling.
From time to time the surname was spelt Wilkie, Wilkey, Wilky, and
these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even between father
and son. Scribes and church officials, often travelling great distances,
even from other countries, frequently spelt the name phonetically.
As a result the same person would be recorded differently on birth,
baptismal, marriage and death certificates as well as other numerous
records recording life's events.
The Saxon race gave birth to many English surnames not the least of
which was the surname Wilkey. The Saxons were invited into England
by the ancient Britons of the 4th century. A fair skinned people their
home was the Rhine valley, some as far a Denmark. They were led by
two brothers, General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa. The Saxons settled
in the county of Kent, on the south coast of England. Gradually, they
spread north and westward, and during the next four hundred years
forced the Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall in the west,
and the Cumberland to the north. The Angles occupied the eastern coast,
the south folk in in Suffolk, north folk in Norfolk. Under Saxon rule
England prospered under a series of kings, the first of which was
In 1066, the Norman invasion from France occurred and their victory
as the Battle of Hastings. In 1070, Duke William took an army of 40,000
north and wasted the northern countries, forcing many rebellious Norman
nobles and Saxons to flee over the border into Scotland. Meanwhile,
the Saxons who remained in the south were not treated well under hostile
Norman rule, and many also moved northwad to the midlands, Lancashire
and Yorkshire away from the Norman oppression.
Nevertheless, this notable English family name, Wilkey, emerged as
an influential name in the county of Kent. By the 13th Century they
had branched north to Scotland where they were seated aat Rathobyres
in Midlothian from about 1300. From this branch they also branched
north to Fife and David Wilkie was a notary at Pitcairn. In 1563 James
Wilkie was a tenant of Newbattle Abbey, and James Wilkie was principal
of St. Andrew's College in 1574. William Wilkie was Mayor of Lanark
in 1591. Thomas Wilkie was a schoolmaster in Selkirk in 1627. Their
present family seats is at Blackheath. Notable amongst the family
at this time was Wilkie of St. Vincent, West Indies
The surname Wilkey flourished during the turbulent middle ages, contributing
greatly to the cultural development of England. During the 15th, 16th,
17th, and 18th centuries England was ravaged by plaques, famine, and
religious conflict. Protestantism, the newly found political fervour
of Cromwellism and democratic government, and the remnants of the
Roman Church rejected all non believers, each jealously claiming adherents
to their cause. The changing rule caused burnings, hangings and banishments
of all sects and creeds, first one then another. Many families were
freely "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies".
Some were rewarded with grants of lands, others were banished.
Some families were forced to migrate to Ireland where they became
known as the Adventurers for land in Ireland. Protestant settlers
"undertook" to keep their faith, being granted lands previously
owned by the Catholic Irish. There is no evidence that the family
name migrated to Ireland, but this does not preclude the possibility
of their scattered migration to that country.
The New World offered better opportunities and some migrated voluntarily,
some were banished mostly for religious reasons. Some left Ireland
disillusioned with promises unfulfilled, but many left directly from
England, their home territories. Some also moved to the European continent.
Members of the family name Wilkey sailed aboard the huge armada of
three- masted sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which
piled the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships such as the Hector,
the Dove and the Rambler, were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to
40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination.
Amongst the first settlers in North America, which could be considered
a kinsman of the surname Wilkey, or a variable spelling of that family
name was James Wilkie who settled in South Carolina in 1716; Samuel
Wilkie settled in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1863; Walter Wilkie settled
in Charleston S. C. in 1823.
From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining
the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast. During the
American War of Independence, many loyalist made their way north to
Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalist.
Contemporary notables of this surname, Wilkey, include many distinguished
contributors, Professor Douglas Wilkie, Physiology: James Wilkie,
Secretary of Carnegie United Kingdom Trust; Malcolm R. Wilkey, Assistant
U. S. Attorney General
During the course of our research we also determined the many Coat
of Arms granted to different branches of the family name.
The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms was:
Silver with a blue stripe with a wreathed border with a crescent at
the top and a five leafed clover in base.
The Crest was:
A dragon's head silver and green.
ancient family Motto for this distinguished name was:
"Favete Deo" (God's Favour)