Herrick Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Herrick Meaning

Herrick comes from the Old Norse name Eirikr,
comprising the elements eir
meaning “mercy” and rik
meaning “power.” The “H” got added later as the name was more and
more used in England. The name was first found in Leicestershire,
which had been an area of intense Danish settlement, and with one family
there. DNA analysis points
to a single family origin.

Herrick Resources on

Herrick Ancestry

Family lore relates the Herricks to Erick the Forester at the time
of William the Conqueror. Herrick first surfaced as a name in
Leicestershire in
the 13th century when
Henry Eyrick witnessed charters at Wigston Magna. The
Herricks remained in Wigston until the 20th
century. Other members of the family
were recorded nearby, at Great Stretton in the 13th century and at
two hundred years later.

Thomas Herrick, son of
Robert Herrick of Houghton, moved to Leicester where he was borough
in 1511. His sons Nicholas and John both
became mayors of Leicester, while Sir William Herrick – the
youngest of the five sons – became
a goldsmith in London and such a prominent figure that he was knighted
1605 and granted estates at Beaumanor. His
cousin Robert
, born in
London, was the well-known poet.

The Herrick name did not start to appear in
the neighboring counties of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire until the
17th century. The earliest reference in
Lincolnshire was to
John Herrick who in 1627 was baptized in Folkingham only twelve miles
from the
border with Leicestershire. The strong
presence of the name in Lincoln in the 1881 census must have
come from later migration.

Ireland. The Herrick name
appeared in Ireland. John Herrick, an ensign in Colonel
Rainborough’s regiment, came to Ireland in 1649. He was said to
be from a junior branch of the Herricks of Beaumanor and was granted
lands at Ship-Pool near Innishannon in county Cork.

By the time of Griffith’s Valuations in the mid 19th century, Herricks
were considerable landowners in the county. The largest Herrick
estate, comprising more than 3,000 acres, was that of Thomas Herrick of
Ship-Pool castle. This house stayed in the Herrick family until

There were Irish O’Harricks at one time in Donegal. But
this seems
later to have come out later as Erck.

Henry Herrick
arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1629. Early genealogists
sought to link him with Sir William Herrick in London. Jedediah
Herrick in his 1846 book Herrick
Genealogy Register
thought so but had his doubts.

“I think Henry of Salem must have been
the son of Sir William Herrick, although the evidence as we have it
does not satisfy my mind.”

Subsequent research has discounted this connection.

Henry Herrick married Editha
Laskin shortly after his arrival in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and
they had
at least nine children. Henry and Editha
both died before the Salem witch trials of 1692, but several of their
and their grandchildren were directly caught up in it. Herricks
left Salem after this time and many settled in Connecticut and New York
state. Some Herricks later moved west to Ohio and Myron Herrick
rose to become Governor of that state in 1904.

Herricks in America were generally more numerous than Herricks in
England. By looking at the country of origin, it can be
seen that more
Herricks came to America from Ireland than from England
George Herrick, for instance, left his native Cork in 1873 at the
tender age of ten for Freeport, Illinois where he married and settled
down. Irish Herricks were also early settlers in Oak Park,
Illinois. A descendant James B. Herrick was a physician credited
with the first description of sickle-cell disease.


Herrick Miscellany

The Ancient Family of Ericks.  Dean Swift, whose father had married Mrs. Abigail Erick of Leicestershire,
recounted the following about the origins of the Herrick family in Leicestershire:

“There is a tradition that the ancient
family of the Ericks derive their lineage from Erick the Forester, a
great commander who raised an army to oppose the invasion of William
the Conqueror.

He was vanquished; but afterwards he was employed
to command that Prince’s forces and in his old age he retired to his
house in Leicestershire where his family has continued ever since.

We learn from ancient writings that the Erricks were seated at Great
Stretton in Leicestershire, in that respectable line of life, so justly
the pride of an Englishman, being free tenants of their own lands, two
virgates of which they held under the Abbey of Leicester on the payment
of an annual quit rent to the king of a pound of pepper.” 

Sir William Herrick of Beaumanor.  In 1598 Sir William Herrick, in recognition for
services rendered, obtained from Queen Elizabeth, by letters patent
under the Great Seal,
a grant of the manor of Beaumanor in Leicestershire.

His picture at Beaumanor showed him with a picked beard, a
ruff, and in a white satin doublet which he used on Christmas Day
when attending the Queen.  He wore a sword and over his dress hung
loosely a large black cloak.  His plaited ruffles were closely
back over his sleeves.  In one hand were his gloves, the other,
to his breast, held the stump and tassells of his ruff.

Sir William lived to be ninety seven.  Towards the end
of his life he suffered at the time of the Civil War and his fortune
was much impaired.  He died in 1652 and was buried at St. Martin’s
church in Leicester.  His gravestone is to be found against the
north wall of the choir.

Robert Herrick’s Famous Poem.  Robert Herrick was a Restoration poet, probably the most
popular of his day.  The opening stanza of his most famous poem, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time.
reflected the mood at that time.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.”

Herricks in the 1881 Census

County Numbers Percent
Lincolnshire    114    28
Leicestershire 81 20
Surrey     62    15
Nottinghamshire     58    14
Elsewhere     95    23
Total    410   100

Lincolnshire had surpassed Leicestershire as the home of most Herricks by the time of the 1881 census.

Henry Herrick of Salem.  In 2000 Richard Leon Herrick
discovered that Henry Herrick of Salem could not be the fifth son of Sir William Herrick of Beaumanor and
that there were in fact two Henry Herrick immigrants at
that time, Henry of Salem and a Henry Herrick who lived in Virginia as
early as
1642 and as late as 1653.

One reason why
there must have been two Henry Herricks was that, on June 28, 1653,
Heyricke of Virginia sent a letter to his brother, John Heyricke in
England.  However, on the very same day
Henry Herrick
of Salem served on an Essex grand jury.  A single man could not be
in Virginia
and Massachusetts simultaneously.

of Virginia may have been related to the Herricks of Beaumanor.  But Henry of Salem, who immigrated there in
1629, certainly was not.

Herricks in America by Country of Origin

Country Numbers Percent
Ireland    34    44
England    33    43
Elsewhere    10    13
Total    77   100



Herrick Names

  • Robert Herrick was a highly popular English poet of the 17th century.
  • Myron Herrick was Governor of Ohio in 1904.

Select Herrick Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lincolnshire)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Herrick and Like Surnames

Some surnames have originated from the English Midlands – the swathe of countryside which covers such counties as Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.




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