Montfiguet History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The origins of the Anglo-Saxon name Montfiguet come from its first bearer, who was a person of iron point which may have been made in reference to a soldier or warrior. The surname Montfiguet originally derived from the Old English word Fiche which referred to iron point. One source claims that the name could have been Norman in origin from "Fitz or Le Fils." 
And another claims the name was from "the Flemish, Vits; a personal name." 
At times, sources disagree as to the origin of a surname. This is one of those times. Regardless of the aforementioned origins noted above, Harrison and Lower, two reputable authors on the study of surnames note the name could have been derived from a nickname, as in the "polecat" from the Middle English word "fitchett" meaning "polecat."   Conversely, Reaney another noted author notes "the common derivation of Fitch and Fitchett from the polecat is untenable."  In this case, we agree with the latter author who postulates the name was derived from Fiche, "iron point."
Early Origins of the Montfiguet family
The surname Montfiguet was first found in Essex where "the name has long been established."  However, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list scattered listings of the family by that time: Gilbert Fiz in Cambridgeshire; Walter Fiz in Bedfordshire; and William Fiz in Somerset. 
While Essex was a stronghold for the family other counties listed Hugh, Roger, William Fiche in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243, the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire in 1297 and the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk in 1327. 
Exploring the Fichet variant in more detail, we found this quote of value: "After the Conquest the Manor of Spaxton was held of the Castle of Stowey, for many generations, by the family of Fichet. In the time of Henry II., Robert the son of Hugh, the son of another Hugh Fichet, is certified to hold it of Philip de Columbers, by the service of one knight's fee." 
Stowey Castle was a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, built in the 11th century, in the village of Nether Stowey on the Quantock Hills in Somerset.
Continuing, "there were Fitchetts in Leicestershire [where] Dominus Fychet de Pakst witnesses a deed of Hugh de Craucumb's in Oxfordshire about 1230." 
Some were found in Tavistock, Devon: "The gatehouse of the mansion of the Fitzes of Fitzford, noted in local history as the scene of a duel between Sir John Fitz (1570-1605) and Sir Nicholas Slanning, in which the latter was killed, had to be removed, but it was carefully rebuilt."  The fully restored Fitzford Gatehouse stands today complete with its imposing gated entrance as a holiday cottage.
Early History of the Montfiguet family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Montfiguet research. Another 144 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1300, 1359, 1398, 1583, 1606, 1583, 1601, 1612, 1704, 1638, 1673 and 1517 are included under the topic Early Montfiguet History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Montfiguet Spelling Variations
The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Montfiguet has been spelled many different ways, including Fitch, Fitchett, Fitchitt, Fittch, Fitche, Fitchet, Fitchit, Fitz, Fitts and many more.
Early Notables of the Montfiguet family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Ralph Fitch (fl. 1583-1606), English traveller in India, who "was among the first Englishmen known to have made the overland route down the Euphrates Valley towards India. He left London on 12 Feb. 1583 with other merchants of the Levant Company, among whom were J. NewBerry, J. Eldred, W. Leedes, jeweller, and J. Story, a painter. How far Fitch's travels and experience in the East may have contributed to the establishment of...
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Montfiguet Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Montfiguet family to Ireland
Some of the Montfiguet family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 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 Montfiguet family
Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Montfiguets to arrive in North America: Matthew Fitch who settled in Virginia in 1606; fourteen years before the "Mayflower"; Enecha Fitch who purchased land in Virginia in 1624; James and Abigail Fitch who landed in Boston in 1635.
Related Stories +
The Montfiguet 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 Translation: Hope.
- ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
- ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
- ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital