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General CAKEBREAD Name Notes


All Family History research reveals numerous spelling variations of surnames and ours is no exception. The earliest record so far known (in Latin) is in the Pipe Rolls of Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire 1109 where Aedwinus Cacabred was mentioned in what appears to be a land dispute. Aedwinus was referred to as "a farmer in the flour trade" and possibly was a branch of the Hereward family. Although it was so soon after the Norman conquest when there were many French people living in Britain there appears to be no French inference in the names.

In 1396 JOHN CAKEBREAD donated money to the Church of St.John, Burford, Oxfordshire.

There are also three references to a William Cakebrede in the University of Oxford Chancellor's Court records for the year 1501.


Who knows !!

In early times people only had one name but were identified by their trade or their place of residence.
It is easy to assume that like so many present day surnames our CAKEBREAD ancestors were in the bakery trade. But is it as simple as that ? Over the last 1000 years our language has changed considerably and in the 1000 years before that there were many foreign influences from different cultures such as Roman and Viking.

This very unusual name is one of the oldest on the surname list. It is said to be of Norse-Viking and Olde English pre 9th century origins. It derives from the Norse word 'kaka' meaning cake, and the English 'brede' and is apparenty a medieval occupational metonymic for a miller of special flour or a baker of 'dainty' cakes and small flat loaves. These were made from a special fine and sweet flour called 'cakebread'. '

An unusual feature of this surname has been its almost unchanging spelling since the fourteenth century, another rarity in itself.

We see above that by 1109, very soon after the Norman Conquest, an early variation of the name was in use and the constituent parts CACA and BRED are reasonably similar to Old Norse and Old English words of 'kaka' and 'brede'. It is reasonable to assume it is not therefore of French influence. However, some input on this topic submitted by another reseacher indicates far more possibilities than the obvious interpretation.

All the evidence I have seen was that the Cakebreads were of humble or working class throughout the ages and unfortunately did not include any noble families so there would be NO Coats-of-Arms, although some US based web-sites seem to have invented them !!

I don't think so !!


After the few records mentioned above the earliest records are from Parish Registers in a wide area around Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire and into nearby Essex but this may be purely due the fact that such records were first kept here, or have been preserved better.

Distribution Clues from Parish Records

The early predominance of the name in the home counties up to 1800 can be seen on the following map indicating the presence of Parish Records on the IGI.

Click on image for larger map

The larger map shows the concentration of records in the Home Counties plus the few isolated examples in other counties which seemed to be single families. By 1800 several families existed in the Banbury / Bloxham area of north Oxfordshire, but the name was slow in spreading into other counties.

1881 National Census

By 1881 the London area was the heart of the distribution of CAKEBREAD families. The group of families in Oxfordshire had diminished and several had moved to Coventry in Warwickshire.

Number of Cakebread Heads of Family
Middlesex 29  
Essex 19  
Hertfordshire 14  
Surrey 8  
Warwickshire 7 All descendants of Oxfordshire Cakebreads
Kent 5  
Hampshire 3  
Northamptonshire 3  
Oxfordshire 3  
Bedfordshire 1  
Nottinghamshire 1 From Middlesex
Shropshire 1 From Middlesex
Staffordshire 1 Descendant of Oxfordshire Cakebreads

The name now occurs in most areas of the British Isles. These are some other known occurrences:

  • Hertfordshire, Essex and London…Many records old and present and probably the origin of many Cakebread communities around Britain.
  • Oxfordshire.....There are baptism and burial records of Cakebreads from 1551 in the latter half of the 16th Century at Witney, west of Oxford, but from the early 1600s there were no more. From 1650 baptisms were registered in Bloxham, Banbury, and nearby districts in northern Oxfordshire. These Cakebreads were early members of the Presbyterian Church and by 1800 there were several families. By 1901 there were no Cakebreads living in Bloxham.
  • Northamptonshire.... The Cakebreads seemed to have moved from nearby Bloxham in Oxfordshire after 1770 and the first marriage was in 1774. The Cakebreads became associated with the stone trade and were still practising a Century later.
  • Warwickshire....A few records in the early 17th century in Warwick and a family at Kineton 200 years later. Three families moved from Bloxham to Coventry in 1839 where there are still families today.
  • Birmingham...Several families in the 19th Century, originated in Bishops Stortford, Essex.
  • Solihull, Shirley areas of south Birmingham....a branch descended from the north Oxfordshire villages (near Bloxham) around the late 1700s. (separately researched). (See below for Chart)
  • Staffordshire: West Bromwich area of north Birmingham...descendants of George 1815 from Bloxham, OXF.
  • Mid Wales and Welsh Border areas…Several Cakebread families exist there now…..Probably moved there in early 1800s from the Home Counties.
  • Scotland (Oban)..Several Cakebread families are there now... Originally moved from Kent in late 1950's.
  • Manchester...where there is a Cakebread Street

Note: I would be interested to hear from researchers who have connections to any of these areas, the Welsh Cakebreads in particular.

CAKEBREADs in the Midlands

As my traceable Cakebread ancestors have lived in the English Midlands for about 300 years all my research has concentrated on that area. In my efforts to find connections I have gathered a lot of information which I have set out on other pages. Although this is nowhere near complete it might be useful to other reseachers.

Midland Cakebreads

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