Letcher History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Letcher family migrated to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname Letcher is based on St. Leger. "The St. Legers came from Caen in Normandy (Chron. of Battel Abbey, p. 59), and a family tradition asserts that the patriarch, Robert, was not only present at William's invasion in 1066, but actually supported him with his hand as he quitted the ship! There are six places bearing this name mentioned in the Itin. de la Normandie. Its Latinization is De Sancto." [1]

Another source notes that it was a "name of a warlike king of the Saxons in the Nibelungen Lied, which occurs in some local names in Anglo-Saxon charters, as Ludegarsttin and Lutegáreshale, which latter Kemble thinks may be Ludgershall, in Wiltshire." [2]

Saint Leodegar (or Leger), known as Leodegar of Poitiers (Latin: Leodegarius; French: Léger; c. 615-679) was a martyred Burgundian Bishop of Autun.

Early Origins of the Letcher family

The surname Letcher was first found in Kent where Robert St. Leger was granted estates at Ulcombe and became Lord of the Manor of Ulcombe. "Ulcombe Place and manor belonged to the family of St. Leger, of whom Sir Robert, of an ancient house in Normandy, is said to have supported the Conqueror with his hand when landing on the Sussex coast. The present edifice, [(church)] which is in the later English style, contains some very old monuments to the St. Legers." [3] He also held estates at Bexhill in Sussex.

Early History of the Letcher family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Letcher research. Another 220 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1767, 1540, 1440, 1483, 1441, 1483, 1596, 1475, 1536, 1544, 1560, 1555, 1558, 1559, 1563, 1563, 1571, 1571, 1583, 1584, 1585, 1631, 1678, 1476, 1526, 1535, 1613, 1496, 1559, 1589, 1571, 1572, 1600, 1618, 1619, 1627, 1600, 1665, 1621, 1650 and 1665 are included under the topic Early Letcher History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Letcher Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Letcher were recorded, including St.Leger, Leger, Legere, Sallinger, Sellinger, St. Ledger and many more.

Early Notables of the Letcher family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Thomas St Leger KB (c. 1440-1483) second son of Sir John St Leger (d.1441) of Ulcombe, Kent, and his wife, Margery Donnet. He was executed on 13 November 1483, at Exeter Castle, despite the offer of large sums of money on his behalf. Sir John St Leger (died 1596), of Annery in the parish of Monkleigh, Devon, was an English landowner who served in local and national government. He was the son of Sir George St Leger (c.1475-1536), of Annery, by his wife, Anne Knyvett, daughter of Sir Edmund Knyvett of Buckenham. He...
Another 182 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Letcher Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Letcher Ranking

In the United States, the name Letcher is the 17,685th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Letcher family to Ireland

Some of the Letcher family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 249 words (18 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Letcher migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Letcher arrived in North America very early:

Letcher Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James N. Letcher, (b. 1849), aged 49, Cornish miner, from Redruth, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Campania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 19th February 1898 en route to Nevada, USA [5]
  • Mr. James Letcher, (b. 1869), aged 30, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 13th May 1899 en route to Hallsville, New York, USA [5]
Letcher Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Thomas H. Letcher, (b. 1866), aged 35, American boilermaker returning from Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Lucania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 13th July 1901 en route to Michigan, USA [5]
  • Mr. James Henry Letcher, (b. 1869), aged 36, American miner returning from Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Lead City, South Dakota, USA [5]

Australia Letcher migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Letcher Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Letcher, (b. 1807), aged 32 born in Cornwall, UK convicted in Cornwall on 26th March 1839, sentenced for 15 years for stealing money, transported aboard the ship "Layton" in 1839 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Henry Letcher, (b. 1807), aged 32, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 26th March 1839, sentenced for 15 years for breaking into the office of bankers and solicitors at St. Austell and stealing money, transported aboard the ship "Layton" on 9th July 1839 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [7]
  • Mr. James Letcher, (b. 1798), aged 56, Cornish sawyer departing from Plymouth on 21st May 1854 aboard the ship "Nestor" arriving in Portland, Victoria, Australia on 16th September 1854 [8]
  • Mrs. Grace Letcher, (b. 1808), aged 46, Cornish settler departing from Plymouth on 21st May 1854 aboard the ship "Nestor" arriving in Portland, Victoria, Australia on 16th September 1854 [8]
  • Miss Mary Ann Letcher, (b. 1843), aged 11, Cornish settler departing from Plymouth on 21st May 1854 aboard the ship "Nestor" arriving in Portland, Victoria, Australia on 16th September 1854 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Letcher migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Letcher Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary Anne Letcher, aged 18, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Accrington" in 1863 [9]
  • Miss Mary Ann Letcher, (b. 1845), aged 18, Cornish domestic servant departing on 18th June 1863 aboard the ship "Accrington" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 5th September 1863 [10]
  • Mr. Richard Letcher, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir George Pollock" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand in January 1863 [11]
  • Joseph Letcher, aged 32, a miner, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Caroline" in 1876 [12]
  • Mary A. Letcher, aged 31, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Caroline" in 1876 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Letcher (post 1700) +

  • John Letcher (1813-1884), American politician, a U.S. congressman before becoming Confederate governor of Virginia during the Civil War


The Letcher 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: Haut et bon
Motto Translation: High and good.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/tasmanian_convicts_cornish.pdf
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 5th November 2010). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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