Hitfield History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The present generation of the Hitfield family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in either of the places called Heathfield in Somerset or Sussex, or in one of the various settlements called Hatfield in Essex, Herefordshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcester, the East Riding of Yorkshire, or the North Riding of Yorkshire.

The place name literally means "heathy open land, or open land where heather grows," from the Old English "haeth" + "feld." The earliest village or parish with the name was registered in Saxon times in South Yorkshire in 731 when it was known as Haethfelth. [1]

One source claims the name was derived from "hat, hot, Saxon, and field-from the hot sandy soil" [2] and yet another claims the name was derived from the " Anglo-Saxon Hæðfeld = the Heath-Field." [3]

Another source claims the name was derived from the Old English "heathland, heather + feld" (pasture, open country) [4]

Early Origins of the Hitfield family

The surname Hitfield was first found in Colchester, Essex where William de Hatfield was listed there 1119-1127. [5] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William de Hatfield in Essex and Agnes de Hatfield in Cambridgeshire at that time. Years later, Johannes de Haytefeld was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [6]

Robert de Hattefeld was listed in the Feet of Fines for Yorkshire in 1343 and Thomas Hatfeld was listed in the Assize Rolls of London in 1412. [5]

Thomas of Hatfield (d. 1381), was Bishop of Durham, and thought to have been the second son of Walter of Hatfield in Holderness. He seems to have entered the king's service at an early age, and was Keeper of the Privy Seal in 1343. [7]

Early History of the Hitfield family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hitfield research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1119, 1652, 1640, 1652 and 1652 are included under the topic Early Hitfield History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hitfield Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Hitfield include Hatfield, Hatfeild, Hadfield and others.

Early Notables of the Hitfield family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Martha Hatfield ( fl. 1652), 'The Wise Virgin,' daughter of Anthony Hatfield, by his wife Faith Westley, was born at Leighton, Yorkshire, 27 Sept. 1640. "The Hatfields were Puritans. In April 1652 Martha was seized with an illness which the physicians were unable to define, but which seems to have been a form of catalepsy. For seventeen days she lay stiff and was unable to speak, and it was said...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hitfield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Hitfield family to Ireland

Some of the Hitfield family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Hitfield family

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Hitfield were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: George Hadfield who settled in New England in 1802; James, John, Robert and Thomas Hadfield arrived in Philadelphia between 1820 and 1860; Thomas and Grace Hatfeild settled in Virginia in 1653.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  4. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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