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Our 2,745 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

I first registered the name Salkeld with the Guild in 1999, having been researching it since the early 1970'€™s. My family lived in the Lake District, specifically in a small hamlet called Pardshaw, near Cockermouth in Cumberland where my grandfather was a small dairy farmer. By the time I registered my one-name study I was more than aware that it was a very local name to what is now Cumbria.

What spurred me on was the publication in 1988 of a book "€˜Salkelds through Seven Centuries"€™ by J Grange Moore, published by Phillimore to which my uncle and I both contributed. This opened up to me the historical significance of the name, so I felt obliged to pursue my more recent history.

Variant names

Among the many mistranscriptions there are five variant spellings which are notable for their consistency and number of occurrences. These are: Salkield; Salkilld; Sawkill; Soakell and Sokell. The closer you get to Cumberland, the less variations there are, and of the above, Salkield is principally in County Durham, Sawkill equally divided between Durham and Yorkshire, Sokell mainly in Yorkshire and Salkilld in London. It is not uncommon however to find Salkeld and one or more variants in the same parish. All the above variants are registered with the Guild.

Name origin

The Salkeld name is a locative one derived from Great and Little Salkeld, two villages situated in the Eden valley in Cumberland between Carlisle and Penrith. Like a number of Lakeland names Salkeld comes from the Old Norse and means '€˜Willow wood'€™. There were early Salkelds settled in Addingham, near Little Salkeld in the Eden valley by the 13th century.

Historical occurrences of the name

Gifts from the King saw the Salkelds settled in Corby Castle on the river Eden. Sir Richard Salkeld. Lord of Corby married Jane Vaux of Catterlen in the mid 15th century. Their effigies are in Wetheral church, opposite Corby Castle. They had no male heirs, but the two eldest daughters married male cousins and kept the noble line going. In the early 17th century Lord William Howard, son of the 4th Duke of Norfolk had made over to him Corby Castle from the Salkelds'€™, in settlement of a debt. Lancelot Salkeld was the first Dean of Carlisle cathedral and erected the Salkeld screen, which you can see in the cathedral to this day.

Name frequency

In the 1881 Census there were 709 Salkeld entries of which 573 were in the six northern counties. Of the variants there were 55 Sawkill; 109 Soakell or Sokell; 38 Salkield and 17 Salkilld. Interestingly there were none of these variants in Cumberland or Westmorland. The Office for National Statistics database 2002 lists 1306 Salkeld; 174 Soakell or Soakell; 55 Sawkill; 32 Salkilld and 12 Salkield.

Distribution of the name

In the 1881 Census the most populous counties in England were as follows: Cumberland 102; Westmorland 75; Northumberland 67; Durham 145; Lancashire 115 and Yorkshire 69. Scotland only had 14 occurrences and Wales 6. Between 1920 and 1930 there were census entries for 322 Salkeld in the USA and 59 in Australia.


All of the Birth, Marriage and Death entries from the General Register Office for England and Wales from 1837 to 2007 have been recorded. There are currently 11820 entries. I have recorded Census records from 1841 to 1911 for my own branch of the family and can access others. I have recorded National Probate Register records from 1858 to 1943. My one-name study also includes many records from parish registers, bishops transcripts and numerous other sources.