The most ancient surname of Fleet makes an impressive claim to being one of the oldest
Anglo/Saxon surnames on record. The history of the name is closely woven into the intricate
tapestry of the ancient chronicles of England.
Professional researchers have carefully scrutinized such ancient manuscripts as the Domesday Book (1086), the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records and other ancient documents and found the first record of the name Fleet in Kent where they were seated from vary ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Many different spellings were encountered in the research of your surname. Although your name, Fleet, occurred in many manuscripts and documents, from time to time the surname was also officially spelled Fleet, Fleete, Flete an these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. Scribes and church officials, often traveling great distances, even from other countries, frequently spelt the names they were recoding as they heard it. As a result the same person could find different spellings of the name recorded on birth, baptismal, marriage and death certificates as well as the other numerous records such as tax and census records.
The Saxon race gave birth to many English surnames not the least of which was the surname Fleet. The Saxons were invited into England by the ancient Britons in the 5th century. They were a race of fair skinned people living along the Rhine valley as far north east as Denmark. They were led by General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa. The Saxons settled in the county of Kent, on the south east coast of England. Gradually, they probed north and westward, and during the next four hundred years forced the Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall in the west, Cumberland to the north. The Angles, on the other hand, occupied the eastern coast, the south folk in Suffolk, north folk in Norfolk. Under Saxon rule England prospered under a series of High Kings, the last of which was Harold. In 1066, the Norman invasion from France occurred and their victory at the Battle of Hastings. Subsequently, many of the vanquished Saxon land owners forfeited their land to Duke William and his invading Norman nobles. Generally, the Saxons who remained in the south were not treated well under Norman rule, and many moved northward to the midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire away from the Norman oppression.
This notable English family name, Fleet, emerged as an influential name in the county of Kent where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated and took their name from the River Fleet a tributary of the River Thames, with manor and estates in that shire. They flourished in this county for several centuries intermarrying with the distinguished families of that county. They also branched to Hollow in Worcestershire and to London where they held a town mansion. Their family seat was at Darenth. Notable amongst the family at this time was the celebrated Jurist Fleta.
During the middle ages the surname Fleet flourished and played an important role in local affairs and in the political development of England. During the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries England was ravaged by plagues and religious conflict. Puritanism, the newly, found political fervour of Cromwellianism, and the remnants of the Roman Church rejected all non believers, each promoting their own cause. The conflicts between Church groups, the Crown and political groups all claimed their followers, and their impositions, tithes, and demands on rich and poor alike broke the spirit of men and many turned away from religion. Many families were freely "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies". Some were rewarded with grants of lands, others were banished.
Some families were forced to migrate to Ireland where they became known as the Adventurers for land in Ireland. Protestant settlers "undertook" to keep their faith, being granted lands previously owned by the Catholic Irish. They were known as the "Undertakers". There is no evidence that the family name migrated to Ireland, but this does not preclude the possibility of their scattered migration to that country.
The New World offered better opportunities and some migrated voluntarily, some were banished mostly for religious reasons. Some left Ireland disillusioned, but many left directly from England, their home territories. Some Also moved to the European continent.
Members of the family name Fleet sailed aboard the huge armada of three masted sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships such as the Hector, the Dove and the Rambler, were pestilence ridden, sometime 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination, their numbers reduced by dysentery, cholera, small pox and typhoid.
In North America, included amongst the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the surname Fleet, or a variable spelling of that family name was Benjamin Fleet who settled in Virginia in 1774; Elizabeth Fleet settled in Maryland in 1742; Elizabeth Fleet settled in Montserrat in 1685; John Fleet settled in Virginia in 1652; Henry Flete settled in Maryland in 1634.*
From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast. During the War of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
Contemporary notables of this surname, Fleet, include many distinguished contributors; and the family continued to make an important contribution to the political and cultural life of the societies on both sides of the Atlantic.
During the courses of our research we also determined the many Coat of Arms granted to different branches of the family name.
The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was: Silver with two black horizontal bars and three silver shellfish. The Crest was: A left arm holding a club.
Histories and Bibliography By Hall of Names Inc.
Hall of Names International Around The World...* Henry Fleete (1600 to before 5-8-1661) was the first settler to Virginia in 1621 of the Fleet Family History.
Table of Contents
| Ancestral Chart | Census | de la Flotte to Fleete Pedigree Chart | E-mail | Eric Cameron Fleet |
| Eric's Ancestors On The Web | Family History | Fleet Men On the Web | Fleet People Of The Millennium |
| Fleet Women On the Web | GEDCOM | Genealogy Pages On The Web | Grayce Drive |
| Henry Fleete and his family | Home | HTML Codes | Index of Names | Letters | My Family |
| Personal Home Pages On The Web | Photographs | Read my GuestBook | Recapulation & Community |
| Reward | Sign my GuestBook | Sources | Special Thanks | Surname List | Survey |
| The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Fleet No. 1 |
| The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Fleet No. 2 |
| The Great Fleet Family Tree Descendant Chart | Want To Know More Information |
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