Show ContentsLett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Lett name is an important part of the history of the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Lett is derived from the baptismal name Lettice, a popular girls name in medieval times. This personal name was originally derived from the Latin laetitia, which means gladness and joy. Baptismal names began to appear as surnames relatively late in the growth of the naming tradition. This is a little surprising, given the popularity of biblical figures in the Christian countries of Europe. Nevertheless, surnames derived from baptismal names grew in popularity during the Middle Ages, and have become one of the foremost sources for surnames.

Early Origins of the Lett family

The surname Lett was first found in Gloucestershire, where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Lett, before the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086.

Early History of the Lett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lett research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086 and 1273 are included under the topic Early Lett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lett Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Lett were recorded, including Lett, Layt, Laite, Layte, Let, Lete, Latt, Leyt, Letts, Lettson and many more.

Early Notables of the Lett family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Lett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lett Ranking

In the United States, the name Lett is the 5,775th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the Lett family to Ireland

Some of the Lett family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 97 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Lett migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Lett family emigrate to North America:

Lett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John, Leonard and Thomas Lett, who, who settled in Virginia in 1651
  • Leonard Lett, who landed in Virginia in 1651 [2]
  • Leo Lett, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [2]
  • William Lett, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [2]
Lett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Lett, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [2]
Lett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Adam Lett, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 [2]
  • Johannes Lett, aged 22, who arrived in New York, NY in 1850 [2]
  • C. C. Lett arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850

Australia Lett migration to Australia +

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

Lett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Lett, English convict who was convicted in Buckinghamshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]

New Zealand Lett 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:

Lett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Lett, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Delhi" arriving in New Zealand in 1840 [4]
  • Mr. Lett, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harrington" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 15th June 1841 [4]
  • Charles Lett, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Harrington [5]
  • Charles Lett, aged 30, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Harrington" in 1841 [5]

West Indies Lett migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [6]
Lett Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Tho Lett, aged 22, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 aboard the ship "Falcon" [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Lett (post 1700) +

  • Leon Lett (b. 1968), nicknamed The Big Cat, an American former NFL football defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys (1991–2000) and Denver Broncos (2001), current Assistant defensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys (2011–)
  • David Lett (1939-2008), American founder and winemaker for The Eyrie Vineyards in Oregon
  • Alleyne Lett (b. 1983), Grenadian athlete who competed in the decathlon
  • Benjamin Lett (1813-1858), Irish-Canadian filibusterer; he bombed the monument to British general Sir Isaac Brock near Queenston, Ontario on April 17, 1840
  • Daniel Frederick Lett, Canadian three-time Gemini Award winning actor, born in Toronto, Ontario
  • William Pittman Lett (1819-1892), Irish-born, Canadian journalist, bureaucrat and poet; as a ten month old, he arrived in Richmond Ontario in 1820
  • G.H. Lett, Irish founder of Lett's Brewery, a former brewer based in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland in 1864
  • Henry William Lett (1836-1920), Irish botanist who specialised in mosses
  • Sherwood Lett CBE DSO MC ED QC (1895-1964), Canadian soldier, lawyer, diplomat, and jurist, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1963, Chancellor of the University of British Columbia (1951-1957), Head Canadian Military Mission to Vietnam (1954)
  • Michael Lett (b. 1987), Australian former rugby league player who played from 2005 to 2011
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th December 2018). Retrieved from
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