Fitchen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Fitchen comes from a name for a person of iron point which may have been made in reference to a soldier or warrior. The surname Fitchen 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 Fitchen family
The surname Fitchen 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." 
Early History of the Fitchen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fitchen 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 Fitchen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fitchen Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Fitchen include Fitch, Fitchett, Fitchitt, Fittch, Fitche, Fitchet, Fitchit, Fitz, Fitts and many more.
Early Notables of the Fitchen 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 Fitchen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fitchen family to Ireland
Some of the Fitchen 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.
Fitchen migration to the United States +
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Fitchen or a variant listed above:
Fitchen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Margaret Fitchen, who landed in Maryland in 1662 
Related Stories +
The Fitchen 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
- ^ Lowe, 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
- ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)