Recorded in several spellings including Langford, Lankford, and Longford, this is an English locational surname. It ultimately derives from any of the places called Langford or Longford in the counties of Bedfordshire, Devonshire, Essex, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. These places are mostly recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Langheforda, Langeford(e) and Longaford", and all but one share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the long shallow river crossing", from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "langa", meaning long, with "ford", a shallow area of river. The only exception to the general meaning would seem to be that of Langford in Nottinghamshire, recorded as "Landeforde" in Domesday Book, and this place derives its name from the "landaford", meaning a ford which denoted a boundary, in this case the border with Lincolnshire. Locational surnames are descended either from the descendants of the local lord of the manor, or more usually were means of identification for 'strangers', particularly by those who had left their original birthplace to settle somewhere else.
This famous and noble surname is of pre 8th century Anglo-Saxon origins, and whilst generally considered locational from one of the English villages called Langley or Longley, may also be Norse-Viking. In the latter case the derivation is from an early Norwegian female baptismal name 'Langlif' which curiously does mean what it sounds 'Long life'. The village names are found in the 1086 Domesday Book as 'Langelei, Langeleie, and Longelei' and all have the same meaning of 'the long glade'. This probably referred to an area of ground cut from the forest, and cultivated.
Be this as it may, the fact is that all the early records refer to landowners such as Thomas de Langeleye of Oxford in 1273, and Simon de Longeley of Yorkshire in 1297. A Geoffrey Langley appears in the London Rolls of 1281, whilst the the fifth son of King Edward III (1312-1377) was Edmund de Langley (1341 - 1402), and on this gentleman was conferred the title of 1st Duke of York in 1385. Another famous name holder in the same period was Thomas Langley, who was appointed Chancellor to King Henry IV in 1405, and bishop of Durham in 1406. His rapid promotion continued with him being elected cardinal of England in 1411. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Richard de Langelega, which was dated 1191, The Shropshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard I, known as 'The Lionheart', 1189 - 1199.
Do you have a Surname that you would like to see here. Please email us your suggestions and we will include it in the next update.
Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this is one of the oldest of English surnames. Originally in ancient times it was a personal name of endearment as in "Little man," and even as a medieval nickname surname, probably did not describe a man of small stature, but the very opposite. This is proven to a large extent by the famous outlaw of Robin Hood fables "Little John," so called because he was a giant of a man. His long bow supposedly seven feet in length, was for many years was to be found at the famous Bolton Arms, at Bolton Abbey, in Wharfedale, Yorkshire. It is also claimed that word was used for the younger of two bearers of the same name, as in the modern and mainly American practice of using "junior" for a son with the same name as the father.
Early examples of the surname taken from surviving registers include Lefstan Litle in Feudal Documents of the Danelaw at the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in the county of Suffolk, whilst Thomas Lytle was recorded in Sussex in the Subsidy Tax rolls of 1296. John and Jane Little were early emigrants to the English colonies of the New World being recorded in the parish of Christchurch, Barbadoes, in 1678. Modern spellings of the surname include Little, Littell, Lytle and Lyttle.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eadric Little. This was dated 972, in the register of Old English Bynames, for the county of Northamptonshire, during the reign of King Edgar, 959 - 975 a.d.
Loft is an English surname but one of pre 7th century Old Norse-Viking origins. It may be either a topographical name for a dweller in a house with an upper-chamber and hence was a form of status, or it could have been an occupational name for a servant of the upper-chamber. In either case the derivation is from the word "lopt" meaning loft or upper storey. Houses built with an upper storey (which was often used for the storage of produce during the winter) were a considerable rarity among the ordinary people of the medieval times, and perhaps not suprisingly this is one of the earliest of all surnames to be recorded. These recordings include Hugh ate Lofte in the Assize Court Rolls of Kent in 1317 and Hugo Loft of Sussex in the year 1346. Variations in the spelling of the name include Loftis, Lofthouse and Loftus. Church registers for the diocese of Greater London include examples such as the christening of Elizabeth Lofts, the daughter of Matthew and Debora Lofts, in July 1626 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and the marriage of John Loft to Tabitha Thompson on May 19th 1713 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matthew ad le Loft in 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire", during the reign of King Edward I.
The Waddelow Society is a non profit Family History Group, established in 1988, interested in reasearching the Waddelow/Wadlow name.
This Website replaces our old freeserve
and blueyonder websites.
Site Created August 2011
Updated: 13th April 2017
Web Author: Susan F. Waterhouse (Secretary)
You are Visitor