Lightfoote History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Lightfoote was formed many centuries ago by the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It was a name typically given to a swift runner. The surname Lightfoote is derived from the Old English words leoht, which means light, and fot, which means foot. [1] Occasionally, this name was applied as an occupational surname to a messenger. [2]

"The name 'Martin with the Light Foot' is said to have been given to one of the followers of the Saxon hero Hereward, on account of his swiftness, but the modern English name is probably corrupted from the local name Lydford co. Devon." [3]

Lydford is an ancient Saxon village dating back to 997 when it "sustained severe injury from the Danes, who, after the destruction of Tavistock Abbey, burnt forty of the houses in the town." [4] Known as Hlydanforda c. 1000 and later as Lideforda in the Domesday Book of 1086 [5], it literally meant "ford over the River Lyd." [6]

While we cannot discount this learned writer's postulation, we wish to point out to the reader that more than five other similarly noted authors believe the name to be a nickname.

Early Origins of the Lightfoote family

The surname Lightfoote was first found in Oxfordshire where the first record of the family was William Lihfot who was listed there. Years later, Hugh Lihtfott was found in the Curia Regis Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1206 and John Lyghtfot was found in the Assize Rolls for Cheshire in 1296. [7]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included William Lightfot, Cambridgeshire and Henry Lithtot, Oxfordshire and later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Willelmus Lightfote. [8]

There was only one ancient record found further to the north in Scotland, specifically "Duncan Lightfot, messenger from Dunfermline, recorded in 1303." [2]

Early History of the Lightfoote family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lightfoote research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1303, 1301, 1571, 1602, 1675, 1643, 1668, 1730 and 1759 are included under the topic Early Lightfoote History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lightfoote Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Lightfoote include Lightfoot, Lightford, Lightfoote and others.

Early Notables of the Lightfoote family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Lightfoot (1602-1675), an English churchman, rabbinical scholar, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He was born in Stoke-on-Trent, the son of Thomas Lightfoot, vicar of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. Lightfoot was one of the original members of the Westminster Assembly and was made Master of Catharine Hall (renamed St...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Lightfoote Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Lightfoote family to Ireland

Some of the Lightfoote 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.


United States Lightfoote migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Lightfoote Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Lightfoote, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • John Lightfoote, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624 [9]
  • Ann Lightfoote, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [9]

West Indies Lightfoote 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. [10]
Lightfoote Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Lightfoote, who landed in Jamaica in 1689 [9]


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  6. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  7. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  8. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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