name Wittacre comes from the family having resided in one of a number of similarly-named places. The settlement of Wheatacre is in Norfolk
, while Whiteacre in Waltham is in Kent; both of these names literally mean wheat-field.
The place named Whitacre is in Warwickshire
, while High Whitaker is in Lancashire; these names both mean white field.
The surname Wittacre belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation
names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
Early Origins of the Wittacre family
The surname Wittacre was first found in Warwickshire
where the first record of the name was Johias Whitacre (1042-1066), who died while fighting at the Battle of Hastings on the side of King Harold. Despite the fact he was on the losing side of the battle, his family were permitted to keep their estates there. The place names Whitacre, Over Whitacre and Nether Whitacre were listed in the Domesday Book
as Witacre and literally meant "white cultivated land" from the Old English words "hwit" + "aecer." CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
One of the earliest rolls was the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Those rolls listed: Alan Witacur in Oxfordshire; and Richard de Whitacre in Northamptonshire. Years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Henricus Wyteacre; Willelmus de Wetaker; and Rogerus Whitteacres. CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
"The Whittakers or Whitakers are numerous in Lancashire. From the 14th to the 16th century a gentle family of this name lived at High Whitaker or Whitacre in the vills of Simonstone and Padiham, in the parish of Whalley: the Whitakers of Holme and those of Henthorn branched off in the 15th century and those of Healy about 1620. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
One of the more interesting etymologies we found was the following: " local. The north part of a graveyard allotted to the poor was called Whittaker, from wite, a penalty, and acre,-a place of burial for criminals. A culprit who could not discharge the penalty or wite became a "witetheow," and was buried in the wite-acre. Bailey defines Whittaker "the north-east part of a flat or shoal-the middle ground." CITATION[CLOSE]
Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
We tend to believe that name was more likely "derived from a geographical locality. 'of the white acre.' " CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6) as the former entry would suppose that there would be many such listings of the surname scattered throughout ancient Britain and this was clearly not the case.
Early History of the Wittacre family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wittacre research.Another 334 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1375, 1548, 1595, 1586, 1580, 1646, 1640, 1622, 1695, 1659, 1661, 1679, 1642, 1715, 1695, 1696, 1701, 1702, 1660, 1735 and 1704 are included under the topic Early Wittacre History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Wittacre Spelling Variations
Wittacre has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred
years, spelling variations
in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Whittaker, Whittakers, Whitaker, Whitacre and others.
Early Notables of the Wittacre family (pre 1700)
Notables of the family at this time include Sir Richard de Whitacre (c.1300-1375), Lord of the Manors of Nether Whitacre, Over Whitacre, Elmdon, and Freasley, he claimed direct descendancy for the aforementioned Johias Whitacre; William Whitaker (1548-1595), English Anglican theologian, Master of St. John's College, Cambridge; Henry Whitaker, English politician, Member... Another 103 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wittacre Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Wittacre family to Ireland
Some of the Wittacre family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 96 words (7 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 Wittacre family to the New World and Oceana
In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England
, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Wittacres to arrive on North American shores: Ann Whitacre settled in Virginia in 1636; followed by John, Anne, and Robert Whitacre in 1700; George Whitaker settled in Virginia in 1638; George Whittaker settled in Virginia in 1635.
The Wittacre 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: Spes et fides
Motto Translation: Hope and faith.