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2925

Eccleshall

 

About the study

I suppose that my Eccleshall Family History research was inspired, many years ago, by a visitor to my uncle's garage in Montgomeryshire. George Eccleshall's name was proudly displayed across the front of the garage and filling station and one day a customer introduced himself as David Eccleshall claiming that he had never come across anyone with the same surname. Some time later I decided to follow this up and try and connect the two families. In the course of my research I collected much information on the Eccleshall family name and in 1988 registered with the Guild as my one name study.

If you have found your way to this web page I assume that you are interested in the surname Eccleshall. If you have a connection with the Eccleshall surname by birth, marriage or family history then I would love to hear from you. Any information you have about the Eccleshall surname will be gratefully received. Similarly if you need help with your Eccleshall Family Tree I am more than happy to help. As I have a significant amount of data about the Eccleshall Family I would be grateful if you are as specific as possible when contacting me. Please contact me via my email address below.

Variant names

Taking misspellings, misrecordings (often caused by local dialects) and so on into account I now have over 120 variations of the surname. Of all these the surname Eccleshall is the only one that still exists today. The most common variants; Eccleser, Eckleshall and Ecclesall have also been registered with the Guild.
Recent versions of the IGI have lumped the surname 'Eckershall' in with Eccleshalls but I have been unable to find any connection and it appears to be a surname in it's own right - originating in Lancashire. The names Eccles and Eccleston(e) are also surnames in their own right but occasionally these have been used, by mistake, in early census records and parish registers. Another similar surname is Eccleshaw which appears in small numbers in census records and later parish records, mainly in Derbyshire. I suspect that this is also a local variant but, as yet, I have not attempted to link the 2 surnames together.

Name origin

I have a few references back in the 1300's to the name Eccleshall but as this is before surname formation these are all of the 'locational' type and always prefixed with 'de', eg: Roger de Eccleshall. In more recent times (ie: from 1500-1900) I believe that the Eccleshall surname was still 'locational' and originated from the small town of Eccleshall in Staffordshire. Eccleshall was the home of the Bishop of Lichfield in early times.

History of the name

Very few of the Eccleshalls seem to have gone on to great things! In the 1600's there was a strong link with religious activism. One Rev. Joseph Eccleshall was 'booted out' of the Church of England and became involved with the 'non conformist' movement. In the late 1800's and early 1900's others who were employed in the coal mines were involved in revolts against the mine owners.
In the 1800's the Eccleshalls, mostly living in rural Staffordshire and Shropshire, were mainly employed in suitable rural occupations; farm labourers, coopers, farriers, carters, gardeners etc.
There were also several employed in connection with the canal system - as boatmen and lock keepers. By 1901 many had moved in to mining and several in to the building industry (stonemasons, bricklayers, carpenters etc.)

Name frequency

I have managed to track down about 220 persons with the Eccleshall surname in the UK 1881 census. Obviously they were not a very adventurous lot as I have only been able to trace 4 overseas members of the Eccleshall family at that time.
In 1998 there was also approximately 220 'Eccleshalls' in the UK, the name being ranked 17,858th most popular! There was also about 60 living overseas so whilst there appears to have been a slight increase in numbers over the the past hundred years or so this trend looks like being reversed. A quick analysis of births over the past 50 years shows that the surname may well be in decline. 58% of all those born were female.

Distribution of the name

Prior to 1900 over 93% of all Eccleshall's that I have discovered were living in Staffordshire or just across the border in East Shropshire. My five major Family Trees, accounting for 79% of living Eccleshalls, all originate in Staffordshire. I have one other tree (about 9%) which starts in London in the early 1800's. I am sure that the head of this family also originated in Staffordshire but have hit a 'brick wall' in my research.
Today, some 40% still live within Shropshire, Staffordshire or the West Midlands. The remainder are scattered throughout England with just a few in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Data

Having started the Eccleshall Family History quest long before the popularity of the internet, much of my research was done the hard way! Using the IGI as a pointer to where the Eccleshall family may have originated I spent hundreds of hours in the late 1980's at Stafford and Shropshire Record Offices scouring Parish registers and census microfilms. Numerous trips to the old St. Catherine's House in London gave me all the GRO births, deaths and marriages from 1837 onwards. These have now been supplemented by other data from various sources.
For the Eccleshall surname I now have...
* All GRO births, deaths and marriages 1837 - 2004
* Parish register entries from all Staffordshire and Shropshire Parish Registers to 1837
* Parish register entries or Bishop's transcripts from various other parishes.
* Images of all census records from 1841 until 1901.
* All IGI entries for the Eccleshall surname and known variants.
* Various overseas records - Passenger lists, Immigration details etc.
* Details or hard copies of Wills etc.
* Miscellaneous references from national and local archives.
* Pedigrees - Six main trees representing 88% off all Eccleshall's found to date.

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