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The Whittingham name

The Whittingham surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Hwita" from "hwit", white, with "ing", people of, and "ham", homestead, settlement; hence, "the settlement of Hwita's people". These places include: Whittingham in Northumberland and Lancashire, recorded respectively as "Hwittingham" in an "Ecclesiastical History of Durham", dated 1104, and as "Witingheham" in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Lancashire; Wittenham in Berkshire, appearing as "Withennam" and "Wittanhamm" in the Saxon Chartulary, dated 862 - 901; and Whittinghame in East Lothian.

Locational names were originally given to the lord of the manor, or as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Gilbert de Whitingham, charter witness (Durham, 1214); Petrus de Wyttigham (Newbottle Abbey, Durham, 1245); and Thomas de Whytenham (London, 1339). In the modern idiom the name is spelt Whittingham, Whittenham and Wittenham. In 1608, a William Whittingham, of Cheshire, was entered in the Oxford University Register.

Whittingham Coat of ArmsCoat of Arms

One of the earliest (circa 1567) Coats of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with a red lion rampant, over all a green fess. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Vhtred de Witingeham, which was dated 1163, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

The Whittingham coat of arms that is shown in this site is my interpretation of the officially documented coat as found in the "Burkes General Armory" which states "Ar. A Lion Ramp, GU. Over All A [Fess] [Vert]". Which when translated states that it is "silver with a red lion attacking over all a green horizontal band."

The name emerged as a notable English family name in the county of Lancaster, where they were seated at "Witingheha" which was the King's land. This later changed to "Whittingham" where Whittingham House was built. By the 14th century the Whittingham family had branched out to Newsam Hall, which later formed part of the city of Liverpool and then on to Holmside in Durham. It was around this time that they gave their name to the village of Whittingham in Yorkshire whilst acquiring estates in Penley in Herefordshire and Balkes in Yorkshire.

The next three centuries found the Whittingham name flourishing and contributing greatly to the culture of the nation.

North America

Members of the Whittingham family were amongst some of the first immigrants in North America who sailed amongst an armada of small sailing ships known as the "White Sails".

Records show a John Whittingham who settled in Boston, Massachusetts. in 1630. William Whittingham arrived in Boston in 1630 and Thomas Whittingham arrived in St. Christopher in 1684.