Fetchit History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The history of the name Fetchit goes back those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain. Such a name was given to a person of iron point which may have been made in reference to a soldier or warrior. The surname Fetchit originally derived from the Old English word Fiche which referred to iron point. One source claims that the name could have been Norman in origin from "Fitz or Le Fils." 
And another claims the name was from "the Flemish, Vits; a personal name." 
At times, sources disagree as to the origin of a surname. This is one of those times. Regardless of the aforementioned origins noted above, Harrison and Lower, two reputable authors on the study of surnames note the name could have been derived from a nickname, as in the "polecat" from the Middle English word "fitchett" meaning "polecat."   Conversely, Reaney another noted author notes "the common derivation of Fitch and Fitchett from the polecat is untenable."  In this case, we agree with the latter author who postulates the name was derived from Fiche, "iron point."
Early Origins of the Fetchit family
The surname Fetchit was first found in Essex where "the name has long been established."  However, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list scattered listings of the family by that time: Gilbert Fiz in Cambridgeshire; Walter Fiz in Bedfordshire; and William Fiz in Somerset. 
While Essex was a stronghold for the family other counties listed Hugh, Roger, William Fiche in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243, the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire in 1297 and the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk in 1327. 
Exploring the Fichet variant in more detail, we found this quote of value: "After the Conquest the Manor of Spaxton was held of the Castle of Stowey, for many generations, by the family of Fichet. In the time of Henry II., Robert the son of Hugh, the son of another Hugh Fichet, is certified to hold it of Philip de Columbers, by the service of one knight's fee." 
Stowey Castle was a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, built in the 11th century, in the village of Nether Stowey on the Quantock Hills in Somerset.
Continuing, "there were Fitchetts in Leicestershire [where] Dominus Fychet de Pakst witnesses a deed of Hugh de Craucumb's in Oxfordshire about 1230." 
Some were found in Tavistock, Devon: "The gatehouse of the mansion of the Fitzes of Fitzford, noted in local history as the scene of a duel between Sir John Fitz (1570-1605) and Sir Nicholas Slanning, in which the latter was killed, had to be removed, but it was carefully rebuilt."  The fully restored Fitzford Gatehouse stands today complete with its imposing gated entrance as a holiday cottage.
Early History of the Fetchit family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fetchit research. Another 144 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1300, 1359, 1398, 1583, 1606, 1583, 1601, 1612, 1704, 1638, 1673 and 1517 are included under the topic Early Fetchit History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fetchit Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Fetchit family name include Fitch, Fitchett, Fitchitt, Fittch, Fitche, Fitchet, Fitchit, Fitz, Fitts and many more.
Early Notables of the Fetchit family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Ralph Fitch ( fl. 1583-1606), English traveller in India, who "was among the first Englishmen known to have made the overland route down the Euphrates Valley towards India. He left London on 12 Feb. 1583 with other merchants of the Levant Company, among whom were J. Newberry, J. Eldred, W. Leedes, jeweller, and J. Story, a painter. How far Fitch's travels and experience in the East may have contributed to the establishment of...
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fetchit Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fetchit family to Ireland
Some of the Fetchit family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fetchit family
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Fetchit or a variant listed above: Matthew Fitch who settled in Virginia in 1606; fourteen years before the "Mayflower"; Enecha Fitch who purchased land in Virginia in 1624; James and Abigail Fitch who landed in Boston in 1635.
Related Stories +
The Fetchit Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto Translation: Hope.
- ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
- ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
- ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital