Lightforthy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Lightforthy comes from a name for a swift runner. The surname Lightforthy 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 Lightforthy family

The surname Lightforthy 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 Lightforthy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lightforthy 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 Lightforthy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lightforthy 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 Lightforthy include Lightfoot, Lightford, Lightfoote and others.

Early Notables of the Lightforthy 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 Lightforthy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Lightforthy family to Ireland

Some of the Lightforthy 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 Lightforthy family

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 Lightforthy or a variant listed above: John Lightfoot settled in Virginia in 1610; ten years before the "Mayflower"; another John Lightfoote settled in Virginia in 1623; William Lightfoot settled in Virginia in 1689.



  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)


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