Hicks Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Hicks Meaning
The Normans brought the name Richard to England and
it became popular in the 13th century after the exploits of King
Richard the
Lionheart. Richard contributed English
surnames such as Richards and Richardson.
However, the native English had difficulty
getting around the Norman “R” pronunciation and “D” or “H” would often
come out
of their mouths instead. Pet names such
as Ritch and Rick came out as Hitch and Hick and were eventually spelt
that as well. Other surnames such as
Hitchens and Hitchcock developed as well.
But the most numerous of these surnames has been Hicks.

Hicks Resources on

Hicks Ancestry

England. Who
had the most difficulty with the Norman “R’s”?
It may have been those folks in the west country.

West Country. The earliest recorded
Hicks family in England
was that of Gloucestershire origin.
Traditionally this family was descended from Sir Ellis Hicks
who had been knighted at the Battle of Piotiers in 1356. But no firm pedigree of the
family exists that goes that far back.

The main line began with John Hicks of Tortworth in Gloucestershire who
owned fulling-mills and other property there and died in 1546. William Hicks was rector of Tortworth a century or so
later. Another Hicks line came to London:

  • Robert Hicks, John’s grandson, was a wealthy mercer in
    Cheapside importing rich silks from Italy. His son
    Baptist became
    even more wealthy and established his
    country home at Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire. Sir Baptist Hicks,
    Lord Campden, died in 1629 but left no male heir.
  • the Hicks family through Baptist’s elder brother Sir Michael
    Hicks, an Elizabethan courtier in London, also owned Beverstone castle
    Gloucestershire. A later Michael Hicks died without issue in 1764
    and this estate passed to a distant cousin who adopted the surname of
    Hicks Beach.
  • while James
    Hicks, the son of an earlier Baptist, made his home in Southwark.
    His son
    Robert emigrated to America on the Fortune
    in 1621.

There were more Hicks in Cornwall. John Hicks was
recorded at St. Ives as early as 1400 and the Hicks remained an
important family in the town for the next four hundred years:

“In 1572 Thomas Hicks was chosen as headwarden of St.
Ives. Nathaniel Hicks was elected its mayor in 1784, 1795 and
1803. Overall the Hicks family gave a mayor to St. Ives no fewer
than twelve times, besides at least nine headwardens or porthrieves.”

Thomas Hickes was the mayor of Launceston in 1535. Walter Hicks,
gentleman, died at Luxullion near Truro in 1635. Hicks at
Polperro date from the early 1600’s. There were four generations
of Hicks fishermen recorded at Polperro during the 18th and 19th
centuries. A Hicks family started the St. Austell brewery in 1893
and still runs the brewery today.

Yorkshire. The
North Riding of Yorkshire might have been another
place where the Norman “R” became “H.” Early
surname spellings there were Hyck, Hick, Hickes and Hicks.

The Hickes there may date from an early time. John Hickes was the
lord of the manor of Nunnington in Ryedale in 1580 and he was succeeded
by his son Robert. The Hickes of Newsham Hall
near Thirsk were probably a related family.
Their numbers included George and John Hickes. George was an
Anglican churchman who was appointed
Dean of Worcester in 1683; John a non-conformist rebel who participated
in Monmouth’s
Uprising in 1685 and was executed. Fowler Hicks made his home at Silton Hall.

America. Robert
Hicks from London

arrived at the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the Fortune
in 1621, just one year after the Mayflower. His wife Margaret
and two children followed on the Anne
in 1623 and they made their home in Duxbury.
John Hicks, possibly his son, came from London to Weymouth in
1637; while
Thomas Hicks, possibly a brother (both had been dealers in London in
skins and furs), was in Scituate by 1640

Hicks Quaker Lines. John Hicks
had an unsettled early time in America.
He moved from Weymouth to Rhode Island in 1639 and there, after
unsuccessfully seeking a divorce from his first wife, left her in 1645
departed for Long Island (then under Dutch rule).
was the forebear of the Quaker Hicks in New York and Pennsylvania.

His son Thomas had moved to Long Island after he had married Mary
Washburn. Their grandchildren became Quakers in the mid-18th
century. Among the notable Quakers here were:

  • Elias
    Hicks, born on Long
    Island in 1748, who was a famous Quaker preacher of his day. In his ministry he promoted doctrines that
    embroiled him and his followers in controversies which caused the first
    schism within the Quaker community. He
    was the founder of a branch that is known to this day as Hicksites.
  • his
    cousin Isaac Hicks who was a successful New
    York Quaker merchant and who traveled extensively with Elias in his
    ministry. His grandson John was one of the
    founders of
    Swarthmore College. Another grandson
    Isaac was a horticulturalist who started Hicks Nursery on Long Island
    in 1853.
  • and
    another more distant cousin Edward Hicks who
    was a Quaker preacher from Langhorne in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. His grandfather Gilbert had moved there in
    1747 and built Hicks House where Edward had been born.
    Edward became a Quaker icon because of his folk
    paintings. He painted more than sixty Peaceable
    illustrating the vision of the prophet Isaiah.

Hicks in the South.
The early spelling in Virginia was either Hix or Hicks:

  • Samuel
    Hix arrived in Virginia in 1637 and many Hix and Hicks in Virginia and
    North Carolina were descended from him.
  • Captain
    Robert Hicks
    of Hicks’ Ford in Brunswick county was an
    Indian trader of much renown in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.
    William Byrd saw him in 1728 when Hicks was seventy years old and
    described him as follows: “Beauty never appeared better in old age,
    with a ruddy complexion and hair as white as snow.”
  • while Hicks in Spotsylvania county date from
    the 1720’s.

Hicks came to Maryland from Cumberland in England
around the
year 1680. A descendant was Thomas H. Hicks, Dorchester county
farmer and Maryland Governor during the Civil War.
He managed to keep Maryland on the Union side during that conflict.

William Hicks was in
Baltimore, Maryland by 1690. He may
have come from Long Island (although family tradition has him coming
from English
immigrants). His grandson Shadrach and
Elizabeth were among the first settlers in Sullivan county, Tennessee
in 1776. Their grandson Shadrach (better
known as Shade) moved onto
Monroe county in 1805. His son Isaac
fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War.

Hicks line from New York headed south after the Revolutionary War. Amos Hicks was a pioneer settler in Hancock
county, Georgia
in the early 1800’s. His son Arrice
migrated first to Alabama and then in the 1850’s to Pontotoc county,
Mississippi. Some Hicks have remained in
the area, others moved onto Texas

Canada. One Quaker Hicks line in Rhode Island led to
Canada. John Hicks left with other Rhode Island settlers for Nova
Scotia in 1760. He made his home in Annapolis township.
Josiah Hicks was an early settler in the 1770’s in Sackville, New

Australia and New Zealand. Richard
Hicks, convicted in Kent in
1797, had to wait four years before embarking on the Canada
to transport him to Australia. His son
James Hicks settled in
the Northern Illawarra dtstrict of NSW and prospered there.
son Henry T. Hicks was elected an alderman
in 1887 and two of Henry’s sons fought with the Australian Imperial
Force in World War One.

John Hicks from Cornwall was an early arrival in New Zealand, coming
there in 1841 on the William Bryan.
He married Margaret Old, also from Cornwall, in New Plymouth, Taranaki
two years later. There is no record of a divorce. But John
returned to Cornwall in the 1870’s and married again. Margaret
and their ten children remained in New Zealand.


Hicks Miscellany

Sir Ellis Hicks.  Not that much is known about Sir Ellis Hicks.   He was born in 1315, possibly in Gloucestershire.  In
1356 he was fighting in France at the Battle
of Poitiers where he was knighted by Edward the Black Prince for his
bravery in
capturing a set of colors from the French.  The
following is a second-hand account of this

Hicks fought under the Black Prince’s banner on
the sloping land at Poitiers, with the windmill on the hill behind him
and the
French host in front.

From the vantage
ground between the windmill walls the English king watched the battle
and his
son’s hard passage of arms serenely for he could see that all went
well.  Perhaps
he could see quite plainly too Ellis
Hicks’ great deed and the desperation of the “energy” which made him
possessor of the French banners.

We are
led to
believe that when the battle was over Ellis Hicks was knighted there
and then, kneeling
on the ground in the shade of the windmill sails.”

Ellis died in 1390 when he was 75 years old.

Sir Baptist Hicks’ Monument.  Sir Baptist Hicks, Lord Campden, died in 1629 and was
buried at Campden church in Gloucestershire beneath a stately monument
erected by
his widow.  The inscription read:

and deceased husband, Lord Hicks,
Viscount Campden, born of a worthy family in the City of London; who by
the blessing
of God on his ingenuous endeavors arose to an ample estate and to the
degrees of honor; and out of those blessings disposed to charitable
uses in his
lifetime a large portion to the value of £10,000; who lived
virtuously, and generously, to the age of seventy eight years and died
on October
the 18th, 1629.”

died in 1643 and
the following was added to the inscription:

know, whoe’er thou be, here lie Faith, Hope, and
Faith true,
Hope firm, Charity free; Baptist Lord Campden was these
Faith in
God, Charity to brother, Hope for himself; what
ought he other?
Faith is
no more; Charity is crowned;
’tis only Hope is underground.”

The Hicks at Silton Hall.  Silton Hall was to be found in the village of Nether Silton in the Hambleton
district of north Yorkshire.  In 1765 Squire Hicks erected a seven
foot high stone in its grounds with a cryptic inscription that may have
referred to his former home.   Only the first word of each
letter was inscribed.  The following is thought to be its

The Grand Old Manor Stood
Black Beams Were Oak, The Great Walls Were Good.
The Walls At The East Wing Are Hidden Here
A Thatched Cottage Like A Barn Was Erected
Year AD 1765
A Wide Porch Spans A Yard And Above.”

stone was his idea to mark the spot where the Hickes medieval manor had
once stood.

In 1838 Colonel Hicks added an octagonal tower with Gothic windows to
Silton Hall.  Hicks had been in the Light Dragoons and fought at
the Battle of Waterloo.

John Hicks’ Divorce.  John Hicks
had married his wife Harwood in London but they had a difficult time
during their time in Rhode Island.  In
1643 Harwood complained to the court that her husband was beating her.  John retaliated by demanding a divorce.  This the Governor refused, stating that there
was no divorce law in Rhode Island.  John
Hicks promptly abandoned his wife and departed for Long Island.

Dutch New York John Hicks finally got his
divorce, although it took ten years.
Governor Peter Stuyvesant granted this divorce on June 1, 1655.

“We the councillors of New Netherland
having seen and read the request
of John Hicks sheriff on Long Island in which he remonstrates and
presents that
his wife Harwood Longh had ran away from him about nine years ago with
else with whom she has been married and had by him five or six
children. His
wife having therefore broken the bond of marriage (without him having
given any
reason thereto) he asks to be qualified and given permission to marry
again an
honorable young girl or a widow (in accordance with political and
ecclesiastical ordinances).

The above
mentioned councilors, having taken notice of the above request and in
of the affidavits and declarations attached thereto made by trustworthy
inhabitants of this Province, they find that this request cannot be
refused and
that they therefore have given him letters of divorce.”

He did marry Florence Carman, a widow,
later that year, but the couple had no children.  After
she died in 1661, he married a third
time, to Rachel Starr.  His sole male
descent Thomas, born around 1640, was through his first wife Harwood.

Reader Feedback – William Hicks of Long Island or Elsewhere.  My last name is Hicks.  I’m in California but
my dad and his brothers
were born in Houston. I have everything verified as best I can over the
year but I have a missing connection with William Hicks.

In your post it says he may have come from
Long Island but family tradition says from England.  I had thought
he was son of
Judge Thomas Hicks of Flushing Long Island, born in 1678 and died in
1710.  I have found nothing about Judge
Thomas’ son,
just that he had a son William in his will.

I have, however, found a William Hicks son of
Thomas in a Christening record in Warwickshire England born 1678 and an
immigration passenger list.

Bobby Hicks (burr197630@gmail.com)

Captain Robert Hicks and Hicks’ Ford.  Captain Robert
Hicks the Indian trader was famous in his time and his life was much
embroidered by fiction and folklore.

to the old tales, he was a British
officer who had come up the James from Jamestown and up the Appomattox
river.  He then followed the Indian trail
through the wilderness toward Carolina.  He journeyed forty miles,
far beyond
the outermost white settlements until he came to the Meherrin river
deep in the
southern forest.

he set down his stakes.  He managed to win
the confidence of the
Meherrin Indians who were numerous and had many settlements in the

day when Vnuntsquero, the chief of the Meherrins, saw Hicks wearing a
fine silk
hat with a plume, he said to him,

night I had a dream.”
what did you dream?” asked Hicks.
dreamed you gave me your hat,” said the chieftain.

Hicks, knowing the Indians placed
great significance on their dreams and expected them to come true, and
remembering that it was their custom when receiving a gift to return
one of
equal or even greater value, seized the opportunity to improve his
among them. Taking the hat from his head, be graciously presented it to
the chieftain
who received it with apparent delight.

few weeks later Robert hicks came upon Vnuntsquero and said:

had a dream last night.”
what did you dream,” asked the
“I dreamed you gave me all
the land for twenty miles along the river,” Hicks replied quickly.

chieftain hesitated for a moment, then solemnly
said:  “The land is yours, White Man, but
go and dream no more!”

so it
was, according to the legend, that Robert Hicks came to be rich in
lands and
spent the rest of his days near the river crossing which became known
as Hicks’
Ford and after a long time became Emporia.

Reader Feedback – Hicks of Spotsylvania County, Virginia.  My Hicks family has been in the county of
Spotsylvania, Virginia since 1725 or so when it became an official
county in
the colony.  I have a great grandfather who is James Hicks.  But I know more beginning with his son Peter.  They lived in Caroline county and
Spotsylvania from the early 1700s.  There were several brothers
and one
had been sheriff for many years, Thomas Hicks.

One of the first listings in the oldest Spotsylvania
Order Book is that of
a Sarah Hicks in 1727.  After some research, I found she was in
Northumbria, Virginia.  Her husband
William Hicks owned much land in Maryland across from Virginia on the
River.  He seems to have been a merchant from Whitehaven, UK in

of my deceased relatives tried to link James Hicks of
Caroline/Spotsylvania, Virginia to Robert or Robin Hicks of Hicksford
in Brunswick, Virginia
on the border near North Carolina.  There are a couple of missing
generations that make me think that this isn’t our line.

I had my 96 yr old Dad’s DNA taken with
Ancestry.com about 10 years ago.  When names with our DNA were
nobody had the name of Hicks.  I was confused.  I took 23 and
ME in

What can I do to continue
searching?  I’m not sure if we came through Plymouth, with Rev
Robert Hicks, or
through Jamestown, or even as a Quaker in Philadelphia.
I do know my line has been in the same area
and.same county for 300 years.  We’ve thrived as gentlemen farmers
solicitor/attorneys, as well as law enforcement and politicians.

Carole Hicks (chicksberry@hotmail.com) 

James Hicks of the Northern Illawarra.  James Hicks, born in 1810, was
the son of two convicts, Richard James Hicks and Margaret White nee
Howe.  In
1830 he applied for a land grant at Russell Vale after his stepfather
White had died in the shipwreck of the Foxhound
off Coalcliff beach.

He and his wife
Margaret raised thirteen children, first at Russell Vale and then at
Northern Illawarra where he was one of its early settlers.
He died there in 1895, a father and
grandfather many times over.



Hicks Names

Ellis Hicks distinguished himself at
the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 and was afterwards knighted by the King.   Elias Hicks was a famous
Quaker preacher in America in the early 1800’s who through his
preachings caused a split within the Quaker community.
John Hicks was an eminent
British economist of the 20th century, a follower and explainer of

Select Hicks Numbers Today

  • 22,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 54,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 31,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)





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