Surname Whittington - Meaning and Origin
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Whittington: What does the surname Whittington mean?
The surname Whittington is an English surname derived from a place name. The literal meaning of the name is ‘town of the white family’ or ‘white homestead’. This indicates that the original family named Whittington came from a place that was identified with whiteness, such as a white cliff or chalk hill. Many variations of the spelling have been used such as Whitenton, Whitten, Witton and Whitton.
The most famous bearer of the name was Richard Whittington (c. 1354-1423), a successful fifteenth century English business magnate, philanthropist and four time Mayor of London. His name was immortalised in the popular children's nursery rhyme 'Dick Whittington and his Cat'.
The origins of the Whittington family go back to the middle ages in England when they were found mainly in the counties of Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Herefordshire. They were mainly a peasant farming family. Today, the surname is still found in England, but it is also found in the United States, Australia, Canada, and other English-speaking countries.
Whittington: Where does the name Whittington come from?
The last name Whittington is most commonly seen in the United States. It is an English name, so its roots trace back to England. There are records of the family name that date as far back as the 10th century, when William de Wytton is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. In the present-day United States, the name Whittington is most commonly found in the south and Midwest. In Texas, it ranks as the 13th most common surname. Other states with large concentrations of the name include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Its frequency is lower on the west and east coasts, but it is still present.
The surname Whittington can also be found throughout England and the rest of the United Kingdom. The name is also present in some other countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Today, the name Whittington is associated with wealthy, historically prominent figures who have achieved success in business and public life. Examples include politician Carl Whittington, industrialist Chester Whittington, and actor Michael Whittington.
Variations of the surname Whittington
The surname Whittington is of English origin and has several variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin. It first appeared in the 14th century when a family of this name lived in Wittington in Gloucestershire.
The most common spelling of the surname is Whittington, but various regional and dialectical pronunciation variations exist, such as Whitenton, Whidenton, Whitatton, Whettington, Wittington, Withington, and Withingtune.
Variants outside of England include Whiddingtina in Germany, Vittington in Norway, and Fetting in Sweden.
The surname may also be Anglicised or interpreted as the patronymic surnames, such as Whittenton, Whittanking, and Whittingking.
Other surnames derived from the Whittington surname are Witney and Vitten.
Surnames derived from place-names in England which have similar spellings or origins include Finch, Bannister, Whitehorn, Whitehead, Witter, and Wetherall.
Lastly, due to common emigration and immigration, the various spellings of the Whittington surname have appeared in different countries, leading to other surnames such as Hettig, Pretinger, and Wadsworth in the US, as well as Van Whitman, Whitington, and Wetterling in Canada.
Famous people with the name Whittington
- Richard Whittington, widely known for the nursery rhyme, “Dick Whittington and His Cat.”
- Dave Whittington, an Australian sailor who winning the Olympic Laser Radial gold medal in 1996.
- Francis Whittington, an 18th century British sailor who was the Captain of the Ships Adventure and Resolution during James Cook’s three voyages of exploration.
- Cynthia Whittington, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the founder of the Thistle Farms Women’s Empowerment Center.
- Theodore C. Whittington, the 7th highest scoring US Navy ace of World War II, earning 12.5 kills in the Pacific theater.
- David Whittington, an English former professional footballer who most notably played for Blackburn Rovers.
- Paul Whittington, an English actor and theatre producer.
- William Whittington, an oil and gas tycoon and philanthropist who served as the Chairman of the Board of Oilfields Supply Company.
- Nick Whittington, a British architect who has completed projects for universities, public buildings, and private residences.
- Justin Whittington, a Major League Baseball pitcher who has played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Jacksonville Suns.