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About the study

Thank you for visiting this Web page.

As the Walkland surname is so rare, the purpose of this Web page is to serve as a focal point for anyone interested in the surname.
I am very happy to share what information I have and am naturally keen to hear from anyone with information that I can add to my records.

My research into the Walkland surname and the Walkland family tree is by no means complete but over the course of the last 12 years I have pieced together a relatively complete family tree of all the Walklands that I can find back to one family living near Retford in Nottinghamshire around 1630. This is where the trail currently ends.

My intention in researching the Walkland surname is not an attempt to pry into the private lives of any living persons. It is simply to see how far back I can trace back the surname.

Variant names

I am convinced that the surname originated out of a corruption of another more common surname, for example, Wakelin, Walkling, Wakeland or their variants. The absence of Walkland from most surname dictionaries could well be proof of this. The earliest Walkland I have traced (born circa 1600) was recorded in different sources as 'Wakelin' and 'Wakland'.

I have, however, found no conclusive evidence so far of other families or individuals with the surname Wakland, Wakeland, Wakelin, Walklin(g), Wagland, or their variants, in the Retford area around the 1600's, to make a direct link with my earliest Walkland family. There are, however, references to Wakelins/Walklings in Nottingham in the 1400's, but finding a direct link to the Retford family in 1630 may be impossible.

So this is where the trail ends at present. Did the surname originate from this one family in 1630 or is the surname much older? As all the Walklands I have found relate back to this one Retford family, the search must surely be concentrated around Nottinghamshire. However, it could be the case that the family moved to the area in the 1600's from somewhere else…………….possibly Derbyshire? (See the section History regarding the Walkland Coat of Arms).

Name origin

A potted origin of the Walkland family goes like this....

The earliest Walkland family I have traced lived in the Retford area of Nottinghamshire in the 1600's. Information on their occupations is sketchy, mainly coming from wills, which were rare enough in those days. It seems, however, that the families lived off the land, possibly with their own smallholdings, but were unlikely to have owned their own land.

By around 1700, the original 1600 Retford family of 4 known male children had increased to 3 small families. However, infant mortality was high and only one family produced a son who survived to maturity, and for 3 generations thereafter only one male Walkland survived in each generation to produce one son, who survived and in turn produced one surviving son.

So, the Walkland name could very easily have died out altogether in the period 1630 to 1780!

It was not until the 1780's that sufficient sons survived to maturity to ensure the 'expansion' of the surname.
At that time, the 3 main families still lived around Retford, presumably still living off the land, but towards the end of the 1790's, there seems to have been a drift towards the cities.

Members of one family moved to Nottingham around 1790, to the Basford area, before dying out around 1850. Another family stayed behind in Retford and died out about the same time, and the remaining family moved to Sheffield about 1800. This latter family had four sons and it is from this family that all Walklands alive today have been descended.

The Head of this family was a corn merchant in the 1790's, but upon moving to Sheffield his sons were all apprenticed as cutlers in the Sheffield knife-making industry. For some generations, many Walklands worked as cutlers. There is evidence that some Walklands around 1840 were involved in the lace making industry and family links were maintained between Sheffield and Nottinghamshire, until the Nottingham/Retford lines died out. After 1850's the growing number of Walkland families worked in an increasing variety of different jobs.

Up to the early 1900's the Walkland families were all based in Sheffield, but several individuals emigrated to such places as Canada, USA (via New York), Calais and Australia. However, to my knowledge, with the exception of Canada, the surname has not survived.

So, the Walkland surname still only lives on, predominantly, in England.
Sheffield is still very much the 'capital city' of the Walklands, but since the 1940's, some Walklands have settled in the Scarborough and Northallerton areas and have raised families. Other families are scattered about the country.

Historical occurrences of the name

This section deals with the Walkland Family Coat of Arms and Crest.......

I have in my possession a copy of a Coat of Arms, bearing the motto 'Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum'. My Great Grandfather (born 1845) did some research in this area and below is what is written by him (copied from an earlier document, possibly the original Coat of Arms) in a note pinned to the back of my copy:-
'The Arms of Walkland, a very ancient family in Derbyshire dated 1330 is thus handed down to posterity. Barry of six parts Gules and vert (that is red and green) and over all a Lion rampant - Erminis - this division of the field represents strips of land brought into cultivation from a former untenable condition by industry and art on the part of your forefather and consequently called 'Walkland' and sometimes Wakeland, but Walkland is the proper name - the Lion rampant as in this arms shows a valiant man ever ready on all occasions for noble enterprise and being spotted with ermine stamps it with greater dignity.'
'The Crest of this peculiar name and arms is a gold coloured lion holding in his right foot a red tulip stalked and leaved - vert.'
My great Grandfather then adds:- 'Motto in Latin 'vestigia nulla retrorsum' translation 'no steps backward'. There is no pedigree of the family preserved only the Coat of Arms is handed down except what I have traced from about the latter part of the last century'.

I know that other branches of the Walkland family have this same Coat of Arms and presume that at some time in the past this was copied and passed to family cousins. Whether it was my Great Grandfather who copied it, I do not know. If you have a copy of this Coat of Arms in your family, please do let me know!

Not having inherited vast estates and riches I was keen to learn more about the family Coat of Arms, especially the claim that the origin of the name could be traced back to 1330 in Derbyshire. I therefore contacted the College of Arms in London for a definitive check-up on whether the Coat of Arms was genuine.

If you are interested in the authenticity of the Coat of Arms and Crest, or are interested in any individual Walklands or their families please contact me!


To preserve confidentiality I do not intend to include any individual Walklands or their relatives on this Webpage, but if you are interested in any Walkland individuals or their families, please contact me.

I would be pleased to receive any information on the Walkland surname and its history, any comments or feedback on how this Webpage could be improved, or any requests for information from my own research.

Stephen Walkland