Littles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Although the most natural origin to attribute this name to is of the original bearer's diminutive size, and many genealogists make this error, the name is actually derived from the manor of Liddel, in Cumberland England.

Early Origins of the Littles family

The surname Littles was first found in Northumberland, England where Eadric Litle was listed as on Old English Byname in 972. From this early Saxon entry, we move to Suffolk to find Lefstan Litle listed at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk c. 1095. Later in Sussex, Thomas le Lytle was found in the Subsidy Rolls on 1296. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had the following entries with older spellings: William le Letle, Oxfordshire; Wiscard Litil, Huntingdonshire; John le Litle, Berkshire; and Julian Litel, Cambridgeshire. All held land in their respective shires at that time. [2]

But Scotland is where the lion's share of the family claim descent. And there, the first record was of John Litill who served on an inquest at Lanark, 1313. An agreement was made between the abbot of Scone and Robertus dictus Lytil in 1332 and in 1351, Martin Litill, who witnessed a charter by William, dominus vallis de Ledell, of the lands of Abirdowyr in Fife is probably Martin Lytill who in 1358 possessed the land of Cardvyn. Nichol Litil was one of the 'borowis for the earl of Douglas's bounds of the West March in 1368 and Adam Lityll was a tenant of the Douglas in the barony of Kilbucho in 1376.

"The Littles occupied the lower part of Upper Eskdale and a portion of Ewesdale, and were recorded in 1587 as one of the unruly clans in the West March." [3]

The Little Clan territory followed the banks of the River Esk and part of Ewarsdale, and their immediate neighbors were the Armstrongs, Elliots and Beatties. Adam Lityll was a tenant of the Douglas Clan in the barony of Kilbucho in 1376. A branch also moved further northward to Aberdeen, but the main branch of the Clan remained around Roxburghshire.

By 1350, they had become an established Clan closely affiliated to the Douglases and their territories were located in the Scottish West Marches, approximately twenty miles due north of Carlisle.

Early History of the Littles family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Littles research. Another 225 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1376, 1426, 1448, 1580 and are included under the topic Early Littles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Littles Spelling Variations

Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Littles has been spelled Little, Littel, Littell and others.

Early Notables of the Littles family (pre 1700)

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

Littles Ranking

In the United States, the name Littles is the 9,539th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Littles family to Ireland

Some of the Littles family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Littles family

Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them: Anthony and his wife Frances Little settled in Virginia in 1650; John Little settled in Barbados in 1654; Archibald, Charles, David, George, James, John, Margaret, Thomas, Richard and William Little, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860..


Contemporary Notables of the name Littles (post 1700) +

  • Eugene Scape "Gene" Littles (1943-2021), American basketball player and coach who played professional basketball for six years


The Littles 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: Magnum in parvo
Motto Translation: Great things in a little


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm


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