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About the study

My YOXALL One-Name Study evolved rather than started at a particular time. Back in 2002 I began to study the YOXALL surname when I had hit a brick wall with my own surname, WIGNALL. My wife's g.g.father was Shadrach YOXALL, and yes he did have brothers Henry Meshach and Abednego.

More by good luck I came across four people, Joan Gallagher, Peter Byford, David Perkins and Graham Caddick, all with 20 years research knowledge of the YOXALL surname. It immediately became clear how localised the surname was. At this time the 1881 census was digitally available, thanks entirely to volunteers and the Church of The Latter Day Saints, and I soon proved there were barely a dozen core YOXALL families. And so the One-Name study began, my role being the facilitator, one which I have continued after completion of my 1881 project thanks to these four people, to whom today's researchers owe a huge debt. Most of their research was at County Offices and Local Libraries, not sat in front of a computer as we lucky people are today. Almost all YOXALL lines are based on original records sourced by this group.

Much more detail and many photos can be found on my website:

Variant names

Though several variants have been registered, YOXAL, YOXHALL, YOXSHALL & YOXALE, the spelling YOXALL is dominant throughout the centuries of records, approx. 90% of all spellings being YOXALL. However, the YOXSHALL surname for example is almost entirely attributed to the family of one couple, Isaac YOXALL and his second spouse Margaret BROCKLEY. Though he first married as YOXALL, second married as YOXHALL, his children are largely recorded as YOXSHALL on GRO BMDs.

By far the biggest discrepancies of the surname are not variations but transcription errors. These only come to light when found by a YOXALL researcher. But to be fair, the transcribers do a fantastic job and have made my research far easier than if I had had to read all these original records myself. So a big thank you to whoever you are.

Name origin

Like many surnames, YOXALL is a location name and stems from a village of that name about 7 miles north of Lichfield, Staffordshire. The Domesday Book (1086, William the Conqueror) records the village as IOCHESHALE. Other medieval spellings include LOCHESHALE and LOCESHALL. Personal names include IOKESAL (1100, Henry I), YOXALL (1200, John I) and JOXALE/IOXALE (1321, Edward II).
There are few references to the place name YOXALL, and the origins cannot be agreed by the scholars who have studied the origins to date. General agreement is that the name comprises of two Old English (OE) word elements geoc (a pair of oxen yoked together) and halh (a nook, a corner of land, a water-meadow). From this information, my belief therefore is that the meaning of YOXALL is an area of land that could be ploughed by a Yoke of Oxen.

Historical occurrences of the name

Sir James Henry YOXALL (1857-1925)

Sir James Henry YOXALL

 Though a relatively small surname, it has its more than its fair share of achievers. For example, Sir James Henry YOXALL (1857-1925)  was the first General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers from 1892 to 1924, a highly respected Author, and an MP for Nottingham West from 1895 to 1918, contributing greatly to the improvements in Education in Britain and improving the status of the teaching profession. He was also an accomplished author, writing more than 50 books on a variety of subjects ranging from education to collectibles to novels. But he was just 13 years old when he left his family in Worcestershire to become a Pupil Teacher in Yorkshire, the start of his illustrious career. Honorary degrees were conferred upon him by Oxford and Cambridge, and in 1909 he was knighted for his services to education, becoming the first certificated teacher to receive such an honour.


Albert Leslie YOXALL

Albert Leslie YOXALL (1914-2005) was born in Salford, Lancashire and was the youngest out of four brothers. Educated at Manchester Grammar School and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge from 1933, he graduated with first-class honours. Known as Leslie YOXALL he was a British codebreaker at Bletchley Park during World War II who devised a method to assist in solving Enigma messages which was dubbed Yoxallismus. After the war he moved to Eastcote, GCHQ Cheltenham and Washington as a liaison office before retiring from GCHQ in the mid-1970s. 
GeorgeEatonYOXALL(id531)& family c1904

George Eaton YOXALL

George YOXALL (1850-1940) emigrated to the USA with his parents and became one of the original Pioneers of the West. He simply bought a plot of land in Rooks County, Kansas, where there was very little life but plenty of buffaloes, Indians and horse thieves! Within a few short years he became one of the most substantial men in Western Kansas, was Vice President of Stockton National Bank and served two terms in the State Legislature. George and his wife Elizabeth Tirza FARR founded the USA YOXALL line, having 11 children. A brief history on George has been transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. 


Edward Everard Building Bristol(id1716)

Edward Everard Building

On my wife's side, Walter YOXALL (1883-1954) was an extraordinary craftsman, an Encaustic Tiler, a skill of fixing patterned tiles to structures. He learnt the trade from his father, Shadrach YOXALL and the whole of their ground floor of their home in Princes St, Bristol was beautifully tiled throughout. In 1901, at the tender age of 18, Walter was awarded his first contract, to tile the Edward Everard building in Broad Street, Bristol, a Printing Works when it opened. After 105 years, it still looks like new, not a tile cracked or missing and it is now a listed building. Walter moved to London and spent many years tiling the underground stations.
Harry YOXALL and his van about 1919-1921. The family ran several upmarket Grocers in the area and were regarded as the Harrods of the North to locals.

Richard YOXALL Grocers van c.1921

Richard YOXALL (1855-1919) founded the upmarket Grocers in the Burnley area of Lancashire, offering same day home delivery in 1920 (the forerunner of Ocado?), using their van (pictured with Richard's son Harry). Locals referred to the Grocers as the Harrods of the the North for their global range of products and outstanding shop window displays.There is also Richard's Nephew Johnny YOXALL (1880-1966), a little known man from Colne, Lancashire, whose claim to fame was his ability to build working looms from Meccano. He demonstrated them at an Exhibition in London in 1936, where King Edward VIII spent half an hour talking to Johnny about his models. Not long afterwards the King abdicated in favour of his brother, making Johnny one of the few lay people to have an audience with Edward VIII. 


Frederick Edward YOXALL

Frederick Edward YOXALL (1824-1909) was a Joiner in Cheshire. On his death in 1909, his Will bequeathed a sum of £2,400 in 1913 for charitable and benevolent purposes for the inhabitants of Haslington, Cheshire. The money was used to build the Haslington village hall and in 2013 there was a gathering of his descendants from across the world to celebrate the centenary of the village hall. Apart from the village hall, Frederick was also a benefactor of Alms houses in the Crewe area of Cheshire. An ordinary man perhaps, but he was a philanthropic man, fondly remembered by his descendants.



Laurence Sydney YOXALL

 Laurence Sydney YOXALL (1901-1976) was the founder of Foxboro-Yoxall Limited and one of the primary forces in the development of the process control instrumentation industry. In 1968 he was elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers and in 1971, in recognition of his outstanding services to Britain’s exports her was invested with the C.B.E. by Her Majesty the Queen. A founder of Foxboro-Yoxall Sports and Social Club, he joined in many of the activities. In addition to the sports, he was an expert golfer, a yachtsman, a horologist, a skilful photographer and a keen motorist. All in all, he represented the norm for company Directors of his day. He shared with and cared for his employees, a trait sadly missing today.


John YOXALL - Aerial Photographer

John YOXALL - Aerial Photographer

John Yoxall was chief photographer -of Flight from 1918 to 1939 and died last Thursday, December 18. at the age of 72. He joined the staff of Flight in 1913. During the 1914-18 war he served in the Army, the RFC and the RAF, in the latter Services as a photographer.

Maurice A. Smith, editor of Flight from 1949 to 1957 said. "With the sudden death of John Yoxall, Flight loses its last direct link with the early, if not the earliest, days of flying. He knew the pioneers personally, and the great names when they were ordinary people, and he flew in very many of their aircraft as one of the first aerial press photographers. Through the years he built up with his col- leagues a photographic library which is unique—a pictorial history of aviation. Practically every one of his sets of pictures had a story, and because he could tell it so entertainingly he was soon called upon to write as well as take photographs. His illustrated squadron histories are treasured by many who served in the RAF and Fleet Air Arm.

John YOXALL, spouse of Mary HERD

John YOXALL, spouse of Mary HERD

John YOXALL (1830-1900) married Mary HERD and emigrated to Australia in 1854 with their daughter Mary, who sadly died just 6 months old during the crossing and just 12 days from arriving there. Their ship was called The Red Jacket, of the fastest clipper ships on the world at that time.

 John and Mary had a further 11 children, all born in Australia, working in Beechworth as a Miner. He was elected to Beechworth Municipal Council in 1860, served as a Councillor of the Borough of Beechworth and was involved with the local Congregational Church. One of the children, John Proudlove YOXALL was a cordial manufacture in the 1890’s and early 1900’s. Bottles with his name on are still around today and one such bottle, Wangaratta Arm Dagger Torpedo Soda Bottle, was advertised on an Australian website.

 Edward Samuel Yoxall, 1827-1898, was one of life’s unfortunates. After committing an offence of theft in 1846 he offended again in 1847 and was transported for 7 years to Gibraltar. On his return he scraped a life selling meat outside the gate of the Central Meat Market, Smithfield, London. However, it would appear he contracted nerve leprosy whilst abroad and as a result many years later he sufferered from a loss of fingers and toes, (see photo right published by a Medical Journal). The Prince of Wales sent a personal cheque to ease Edward Samuel’s hardship. Not that it did much good as both  he and his wife Emma were in and out of the Workhouse several timer before both of them died in the Workhouse. There was little relief in those days for those who fell on hard times.

Though not particularly distinguished, one particular YOXALL line is, or was, a dynasty on its own, YOXALL of Brierfield, Lancashire. Founded by one couple Peter YOXALL (1813-1875) & Martha BRERETON (1817-1866), who had 16 children, the YOXALL surname is sadly extinct in the area. Thankfully, the history of this line has been written up before the male line ceased and is available on CD from Lancashire Family History Society.

There are other distinctive YOXALL lines that deserve their own biograpahies, the London YOXALL line, the Australian line of John YOXALL and Mary HERD, the Yorkshire line of James Balmer YOXALL and Sarah GREEN. Each, like the Brierfield line, have been YOXALL pioneers in their own areas. 

Name frequency

With just 269 YOXALL on the 1841 census, and only 867 in 1911, the frequency is so small it suggests there are just a few core families of the surname, which has been borne out by census studies from 1841 to 1911, where on average some 95% of YOXALL can be linked to a living YOXALL descendant of one or more of the various family lines.

Census year YOXALL Total Population Frequency

Census Year YOXALL  Total Population Frequency
1841 269 15,914,148 0.0017%
1851 305 17,927,609 0.0017%
1861 373 20,066,224 0.0019%
1871 503 22,712,266 0.0022%
1881 568 25,974,439 0.0022%
1891 664 29,002,525 0.0023%
1901 766 32,527,843 0.0024%
1911 867 36,070,492 0.0024%

Distribution of the name

Distribution of the surname largely depends on what time period you choose. For example there were barely any YOXALL in Lancashire in 1851 yet by 1881 they were the 3rd highest distribution by county. The simple reason for this was the rise of Cotton Mills and Coal in Lancashire. Similarly in Staffordshire the huge increase in 1881 can be attributed to Pottery manufacture in the Stoke on Trent area. A town in Redditch, Worcestershire was the main manufacturing area for Europe for Needles of all types, where most of the population in the area worked in this cottage industry, explaining why this area was so populous in early census years.

For YOXALL researchers, it is clear the prime counties of the YOXALL surname are Cheshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex and Lancashire, where the total YOXALL and percentage of total census surnames for 1851, 1881 & 1901 are:-

County 1851 % 1881 % 1901 %
Cheshire 137 35.1 181 31.9 196 25.6
Lancashire 31 10.1 106 18.7 168 22
Staffordshire 30 9.8 95 16.7 114 14.9
Worcestershire 66 21.6 101 17.7 93 12.1
Warwickshire 19 6.2 17 2.9 31 4
Middlesex/London 18 5.9 10 1.7 57 7.4
Census Total 305 98.70% 568 89.70% 766 86.00%


All YOXALL Births, Marriage and Deaths, including known variants, for England and Wales have been recorded from the General Register Office Index from 1837 to 2004. 
As a measure of the progress in linking YOXALL GRO BMDs from September 1837 to December 1914 to a living descendant, a summary table below has been compiled. Whilst approx. 87% of all BMDs are believed to have have been linked to a living YOXALL descendant, some 7% of the unlinked YOXALL are infant births and deaths, whose parents are most probably known already through census records, whilst the balance have either no suggestion or a possible suggestion to a link.
Type Total BMDs Type Total Type %
Infant Birth & Death 3111 216 6.94%
No suggestion 3111 88 2.83%
Possible link  3111 104 3.34%
Believed link 3111 2703 86.89%
    3111 100.00%
 Likewise, all YOXALL, variants and many transcription errors, have been recorded from 1841 to 1911 England and Wales census. Up to 1911, there were no YOXALL in Scotland, well none found to date. Presently approx. 95% of all YOXALL on all census can be linked to a living YOXALL descendant.

All YOXALL on the UK Wills & Admons Index from 1853 to 1966 have also been recorded, with approx. 90% linked to a living descendant.

In all cases, as can be seen, substantial work has been completed on linking each YOXALL to a living descendant and a specific YOXALL family line. A complete list of all YOXALL family lines, from 1841 to 1911 has also been recorded. Though there are in theory 62 YOXALL lines based on census records, in reality many are individuals who will clearly be linked to an existing line when their parents are known. My estimate is that there are barely a dozen core YOXALL families.

On a broader aspect of YOXALL data I discovered a rather unusual pattern. Based on the 1881 census, all YOXALL north of the village of Yoxall were related to several families and those south of Yoxall were also related to separate families. However, what I can prove is that in 1881, YOXALL north of the village of YOXALL were not related to YOXALL south of the village of Yoxall, with the exception of Sir James Henry YOXALL, first President of the National Union of Teachers. At the tender age of 13, he was teaching in Sheffield, having left the family home in Redditch, Worcestershire.

There is also one other unique but small YOXALL line, what I call the London line. Though there are several YOXALL lines in the London area, as you would expect, one particular line stretches back to 1734, when Richard YOXALL, spouse of Sarah, was baptised at St Paul’s, Covent Garden, London. Throughout this period the line remained in London and no trace can be found to any YOXALL family outside London.
One other puzzle is the choice of biblical forenames by older YOXALL. Northern YOXALL have older forenames such as Abraham, Moses and Isaac whilst southern YOXALL have forenames such as Solomon, Zebedee and Shadrach. These forenames are unique to either north or south, suggesting families leaving the village of YOXALL may have chosen to use these forenames for a specific purpose, possibly a religious reason.