Tattersall Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Tattersall Surname Meaning

Tattersall came from a place name in Lincolnshire, Tatteshall or Tateshal, from which a family there derived its name. That family died out.

But the name was picked up in Lancashire (or in what was then called Blackburnshire) by Peter Tattersall of the Hulme in the mid 14th century – a lineage traced in W.H. Tattersall’s 1963 book The Ancestry of the Tattersall Brothers of Blackburn.

Tattersall Surname Resources on The Internet

Tattersall Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Lancashire and Sussex)
  • to America, Australia and New Zealand

England.  The main cluster of Tattersalls are to be found in and around Burnley in the county of Lancashire.

Lancashire.  A Tattersall family in the hamlet of Briercliffe dates from about 1400.  They were a family of considerable wealth and substance in the 15th century (although family quarrels appeared to have dissipated their fortunes later). Tattersall House at Hurstwood was built in the late 16th century. It was the base from which Richard Tattersall launched his famous Tattersalls horse auction business in London in 1766.

One family record traces back to a James Tattersall who married Margaret Halstead in Burnley in 1565. Another line began in the late 1600’s slightly to the north in Newchurch-in-Pendle.

However, the main population drift for these Tattersalls was southwards, towards Bury, Rochdale and Bolton and onto Manchester.  Bolton produced three Tattersall cricketing brothers, one of whom, Roy, went on to be a spin bowler for Lancashire and England in the 1950’s.  Cornelius Tattersall was a cotton merchant in Manchester in the late 1800’s. His son John was also a cotton trader and was briefly, in the early 1920’s, an MP.

Yorkshire.  Some Tattersalls were to be found across the Pennines in the West Riding of Yorkshire.   They were recorded at Northowram near Halifax from the early 1700’s.  Tattersalls were ironfounders and engineers at Elland near Leeds.  And a Tattersall family were market gardeners in the village of Silkstone near Barnsley in the early 19th century.

Sussex.   And there was also a Tettersell/Tattersall outpost on the south coast in Sussex.  Its most famous member was Nicholas Tettersell, the man who conveyed Charles II to safety in France after his defeat at the battle of Worcester in 1651. His descendants were to be found in Brighton until the 1880’s when Alfred Tettersell jumped ship (according to the family story) and settled in Canada.

America.  Edmund Tattersall was transported to America in 1773 for committing sacrilege in a church in Rochdale.   In the 1880’s Ambrose Tattersall was sentenced to life for an attempted murder in Bolton.  He disappeared and later ended up in America.

Tattersalls did live at Tattersall Farm, built in 1757 and acquired by Christopher and Annie Tattersall in 1898, at Haverhill in Massachusetts until the death of the last surviving member of the family in 1999.

Australia.  Tattersalls numbered among the convicts sent to Australia in the 19th century:

  • John Tattersall of Accrington was transported to Tasmania in 1820 but later made good there
  • Henry Tattersall from Lancashire was transported to New South Wales in 1836 for fourteen years.  He obtained his Ticket of Leave and married Rhoda Chapman eight years later.
  • and Henry Tattersall from Sussex, who claimed in his trial in 1839 that his forebears “served King Charles II,” was nevertheless transported to Tasmania for ten years.

Today the name Tattersall in best known in Australia, as in England, through horseracing.  A Tattersall’s Club had been founded in 1858 at O’Brien’s Hotel in Sydney as a private betting club for sporting enthusiasts. George Adams bought the hotel in the 1870’s (renaming it Tattersall’s), made Tattersall’s sweepstakes public, and spread the betting across Australia.

New Zealand.  Some descendants of the horsing Tattersalls ended up in Napier.  James and Isabella Tattersall left industrial Lancashire in 1857 initially for Australia on the Mary Anne.

Tattersall Surname Miscellany

The Lincolnshire Tattersalls.  These Tattersalls took their name from the place name of Tateshal or Tatteshall near Horncastle in Lincolnshire.  The first so named was Robert de Tatteshall, born in 1222.  His son Robert was the first Lord Tatteshall.  However, four generations later in the early 1300’s, Robert apparently lost his inheritance in litigation and the male line ended.

Tattersall castle, which lies on the road between Horncastle and Sleaford, was built in the 15th century on the site of Sir Robert de Tatteshall’s 13th century structure.  A plaque there marks the grave of Tattersall’s most famous resident, Tom Thumb.  He was just 47 centimeters tall and died in 1620, aged 101.

Reader Feedback – Hurstwood Tattersalls.  I have a descent from James Tattersall and Margaret Halstead daughter of Oliver Halstead of Rowley and Ann Barcroft of Barcroft.  Margaret’s sister Janet Halstead married Edmund Tattersall and these were the ancestors of the Hurstwood Tattersalls.

I’ve found a 1737 reference to Edmund Tattersall of Hurstwood and my ancestor Abraham Tattersall of Edgeside, defendants in a lawsuit brought by John Kay concerning patent of the shuttlecock. I hope this adds to your Tattersall research and would be interested in any information you could provide.

Kind Regards, Dennis Wareing  (dbwareing@gmail.com)
(great great grandson of Betty Patchett nee Tattersall of Bacup)

Tattersalls.  Richard Tattersall, the founder of Tattersalls, was a descendant of the Tattersalls of Ridge End and Hurstwood near Burnley in Lancashire.  Money problems had caused the Tattersalls to sell Ridge End in 1719 and Hurstwood in 1781. By the time of the Hurstwood sale Richard, the son of a younger brother Edmund, had already gone to London to seek his fortune.

In London Richard entered the service of the Duke of Kingston, first as a groom and then rising to be the Duke’s Master of Horse.  In that capacity he met the great men of racing of his day and his good judgment and honesty helped him establish a business buying and selling horses for others.

In 1776 he set up auction rooms on Hyde Park Corner.  These became a celebrated market for thoroughbred horses; and his “subscription rooms,” reserved for members of the Jockey Club, a rendezvous for sporting and betting men.

Although Richard Tattersall died in 1795, the business stayed in family hands for the next 150 years through a succession of sons and cousins:

  • his son, Edmund Tattersall (1758-1810)
  • Edmund’s eldest son, Richard Tattersall (1785-1859)
  • his son, Richard Tattersall (1812-1870)
  • his cousin, Edmund Tattersall (1816-1898)
  • and Edmund’s eldest son, Edmund Somerville Tattersall (1863-1942).

Tattersalls relocated to Knightsbridge in 1865 and then to Newmarket in the 1970’s  Although no longer a family business, it has retained its cachet in horseracing circles.

Reader Feedback – Tattersalls from Burnley.  My father was born in 1904 in Burnley. His father William Tattersall, who died about 1956, had two daughters, Gracie and Dorothy, and two other sons, Rowland and Lawrence. Rowland became Head of Prudential Insurance in Australia.  Lawrence was a solicitor in Sheffield.

John Tattersall (lawrence.t2@talktalk.net)

Nicholas Tettersell of Brighton.  Nicholas Tettersell died in Brighton, then a small fishing village called Brighthelmstone, in 1674.  The inscription on his tomb in St. Nicholas’s churchyard read as follows:

“Captain Nicholas Tettersell, through whose prudence, valour, and loyalty, Charles II, King, after he had escaped the sword of his merciless rebels, and his forces received a fatal overthrow at Worcester, September 3, 1651, was faithfully preserved and conveyed to France, departed this life on July 26, 1674.”

For this service many things had been promised.  But come the Restoration none had been given.  Tettersell therefore sailed into the Thames and moored his dingy bark off Whitehall where it attracted the attention of the King.  He, being thus reminded, gave the captain a ring, a perpetual annuity of £1,000 per annum, and took his vessel into the navy under the name of The Lucky Escape.

With the King’s money, Tettersell bought the Old Ship Inn in Brighton.  His ring was kept as a family heirloom and was part of an exhibition in Brighton in 1867.

Nicholas Tattersall in Brighton.  Sharon Geldard wrote in 2016:

“I have heard the story of Nicholas Tattersall over the years passed down from my grandmother Mary (her maiden name was Tattersall).   We was told about how he helped to save the life of a King and about the ring, but we have only just found out that his story ended in Brighton.

I have recently looked up the history regarding Nicholas Tattersall and we have now decided to travel to Brighton in the summer and bring my mother as she would like to see for herself where her ancestor lived and is buried.”

She received this reply.

“Tattersall’s gravestone is on the south side of St. Nicholas’s church up on the hill.  But the slab is difficult to read as it is horizontal, sadly as it has a gap next to it and the church wall is used as a rubbish bin by the street drinkers who infest the green space of the churchyard. There are several sources of info on Nicholas, but many have embellished the story.”

Tattersall Convicts to Australia

from – Departure Vessel
John Tattersall Lancashire 1818 Shipley
John Tattersall Lancashire 1820 Maria
Henry Tattersall Lancashire 1835 Susan
John Tattersall Lancashire 1842 Elphinstone
Eve Tattersall Lancashire 1849 St.
Wilkinson Tattersall Lancashire 1850 Blenheim
Margaret Tattersall Lancashire 1851 Anna
Henry Tettersell Sussex 1839 Canton

The youngest of these convicts was 14 year old Henry Tattersall in 1835, transported for a term of 14 years for the theft of an earthen jug and eight shillings in Haslingden.

Reader Feedback – John Tattersall, Convict from Accrington.  I am searching for the relatives of John Tattersall who was born around 1791 in Accrington, Lancashire. He was tried at Lancaster and transported to Tasmania in 1820 on the ship Maria. He left a wife and children (two I think) back in Accrington.

I am eagerly trying to find any descendants from his UK family.  John was my great great great grandfather who made good here in Tasmania.

Phil Tattersall (soiltechresearch@bigpond.com)

Tattersalls in the West Ridings.  In the early 1800’s George Tattersall had a nursery close by Silkstone Cross in the village of Silkstone (near Barnsley).  When the waggonway was made in 1809 his garden was cut in two by the passage.  His son William lost some 30,000 trees in the great storm of 1838.

This family built the Bonny Bunch O’ Roses pub in 1813.  It is believed to have been the only pub with this name in the whole of England.  But sadly the Bunch closed its doors for the last time in 2002.

Reader Feedback – Tattersall the Ventriloquist.  My father was James William Tattersall, born in 1916. James became a famous ventriloquist who made all his own puppets, automating many of them, whilst he made puppets for many other well-known people including Ken Dodd.

Clive Tattersall (clive@joulesestateagents.com).

Reader Feedback – A Tattersall Vellum Will of the 1760’s.  I have been passed down a vellum Tattersall will dating from the 1760’s mentioning James Tattersall, John Tattersall, William Tattersall and others all in old English.

We also have an engraving of Bill Tattersall, said to be the founder of Tattersall’s, passed down. We are related to Henry Head Alexander who left memoirs in Australia and New Zealand and mentioned Bill Tattersall there.

I think some of our family were sent to Australia as there was a family ring passed down remembering a child that died on the journey.  I live in Australia and know that my grandfather and father were Tattersalls.

Jennifer Tattersall (casbahdesign@gmail.com).

Tattersall Names

  • Robert de Tatteshall was the first Lord of Tatteshall in Lincolnshire in the 13th century.
  • Richard Tattersall from Hornchuch near Burnley founded the horse blood-stock auctioneer business which bears his name in London in 1766.
  • George Tattersall of the Tatterall horsing family was a well-known sporting artist and illustrator in the early Victorian era.
  • Jim Tattersall was a ventriloquist, popular in England in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
  • Norman Tattersall from Burnley was a highly regarded singing teacher and administrator in England in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Tattersall Numbers Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia).

Tattersall and Like Surnames

Many surnames have come from Lancashire.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.


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Written by Colin Shelley

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