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2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

I am carrying out a One-Name Study of the name Hexter worldwide. I am keen to hear from anyone with this name in their family and will endeavour to provide information where I can. I have collected a considerable body of data and may well be able to provide short-cuts in your research. Nearly all individuals bearing the name have been assembled into an extensive pedigree.

I am interested in any Hexter worldwide even if they do not relate to my own Hexter line.

Name origin

Surname dictionaries often refer to the name Hexter as coming from Exeter, indeed nearly all Hexters are descended from Robert Hexter and Joan Tapper who married in Tedburn St Mary on 16th October 1642. Tedburn St Mary is a village some seven miles from Exeter and it is likely that when Robert's predecessor first moved into the village he was referred to as Hexter (i.e. he of Exeter).

There are several Hexters in the USA who were not born into the name. They originated in Germany with the name Hoexter but when entering the USA changed their name to Hexter.

Historical occurrences of the name

Very few.

Antonia Fraser in her book The Gunpowder Plot, Terror & Faith in 1605, reports that Sir Edward Hexter, in the House of Commons in reply to a statement made by the King about the gunpowder plotters moved that the Speaker of the House 'should make manifest the thankfulness of the House of God, for his [the King's] safe Deliverance'. However, I have been unable to find any evidence of an Edward Hexter being a member of parliament or of his being knighted. I suspect that the person of whom she writes might be Edward Hext.

In more recent years Jack H Hexter was an eminent historian in the USA. A specialist in British History he conducted research and taught at major American universities for more than 60 years, including Queens College in New York (1939 to 1957), Yale University in New Haven (1964 to 1978) and Washington University for two extended intervals. He died, aged 86 at his home in St Louis on 8th December 1996.

Name frequency

The frequency of the name has been studied in the UK. Today there are probably around xxx people with the name while in 1881 there were only 119.

Distribution of the name

That Tedburn St Mary is the original source of the majority of the Hexter families is supported by the distribution of events from the IGI which radiate in density and time from that area.

By the start of parish registration the name had however migrated from Devon to Cornwall, Somerset, Gloucester and London but over the next couple of decades to Monmouthshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire but also Australia.


I have collected a considerable quantity of data about the name. You will soon be able to see the BMDs for England and Wales in the Guild Archive here.