Hackett (surname)

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Hackett (alternately Hacker, Haket, Hackert, Halkett, Ó hAicéad etc.) is a surname of Norman origin, Hacket being a common Norman personal name.

Most textbooks discussing the origin of English surnames theorize that the name Hackett originates in northern France, Malta and has Irish connections. The early history of the name is largely conjecture because of the lack of written evidence. The surname Hacker is derived from the medieval given names Hack or Hake. These English names were derived from the Old Norse name Haki, which is a cognate of the English name Hook. The Gaelic form of the name Hackett is Haicéid.

The story of the surname Hackett in England begins with Norman Conquest of 1066, when the forces of William the Conqueror defeated the native Anglo-Saxons. After his victory, William divided the countryside into estates for his main supporters as a reward for their zeal. While there were no Hacketts amongst these new Lords of the Manor, the surname became chiefly popular in the West Midlands of England upon the success of the invasion.

The Hackett name later migrated to Ireland at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion in 1170. Members of the Hackett family accompanied Richard "Strongbow" de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke during his invasion of Ireland. The Hacketts were subsequently granted estates in the modern counties of Kilkenny, Carlow and Kildare and thus became the principal holders of land and one of the most influential families in Ireland. As a result, several towns have taken the Hackett name, including Hacketstown, in County Carlow. Further, the Fiants of Henry VIII and Edward VI indicate that in the sixteenth century there were also Hacketstowns, or Ballyhackett, in Counties Dublin and Kildare.

A branch of the Hacketts moved into Connacht, where, in due course, they became hibernicized and, like other Norman families of that province, formed a distinct if small sept which was known as MacHackett, their seat being Castle Hackett, six miles south-east of Tuam. Yet, in modern times, there has been little trace of the name Hackett in Connacht or usage of the name MacHackett in general. The Hackett name is still strong, however, in and around Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny. Several Hacketts and Hakets appear in the lists of sheriffs of Counties Tipperary and Waterford and as members of parliament for Fethard up through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In the early seventeenth century, members of the Hacketts migrated to the New World, first settling in Canada, Barbados and Virginia. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, there were 17,409 Hacketts in the United States making it the 1,689th most common name in the U.S.

Coats of arms[edit]

Coats of Arms were an important sign of a noble individual in medieval Europe for recognition in times of battle or at tournaments etc.

An early CoA was worn by William de Hackett of Cashel in Co.Tipperary who founded a Franciscan Friary there in the 13th C.His arms were three hake fish haurient in fesse and in chief three trefoils slipped proper. We do not know the colouring.

Another Coat of Arms was granted to Sir Thomas Hackett, Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1688; descended from an ancient family long settled in Ireland and has the splendid blazon of a field gules thereon three hakes argent haurient in fesse, on a chief or three trefoils slipped proper. The crest being, out of a mural coronet argent, an eagle displayed with two heads sable, with the motto; Spec mea Deus.Translated this reads "On a red shield are three silver hake fish (a pun on the name Hackett) on the top fourth (Chief) are three shamrocks on a gold background."On most variants of the crest, a double eagle wearing a tiara perched on two snakes, while a motto reads "God is my Hope".Other mottos include "Virtue and Fidelity.", "All for now, men!" and "Fortitudine et prudentia" (With fortitude and prudence) the later believed to be from Hackett's originating in the Carlow Kilkenny and Wexford area"

Most of the official coats of arms granted to individual Hacketts are a variant of the above.

Notable Hacketts[edit]


  • John Hacket, bishop of Lichfield
  • William Hacket or Hackett, claimed to be the Messiah in London on 19 July 1591, executed for treason 12 days later


  • Judith Hackitt, DBE, British chemical engineer and former Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive

See also[edit]



External links[edit]