Surname Whittle - Meaning and Origin
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Whittle: What does the surname Whittle mean?
The last name Whittle is an English occupational surname, derived from the Middle English words “whitelen” or “whitl” which translates to “to cut, whittle, or sculpt”. As such, the bearer of this surname was likely a woodworker, carver, or tool-maker in an earlier time.
Due to its origins as an occupational name, the last name is most present within the England and Scotland, particularly in the northern parts of those countries. Variations of this name, such as Whight and Whitelaw, have also grown in popularity throughout the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
The moniker could also refer to someone who was a part of the ‘Whittington’ lineage, embodying a respected family of acclaimed knights and knights of the house of Lancaster in the 14th and 15th centuries.
The coat of arms is blazoned thus; “A silver shield was a clenched fist proper a chevron between three black crosslets fitched also proper” which translates to “a silver shield with a fist in the center and three black crosses points up to the fist”. This makes for a memorable visual representation of the Whittle surname and alludes to the strength, resilience and prowess of Whittle men since medieval times.
No matter its origin, the name Whittle serves as a badge of honour, indicating a powerful lineage of craftspeople, soldiers, or perhaps both. It is a reminder of those who came before and the dedication and skill they brought to their workmanship, whether on the battlefield or in the workshop. While the term Whittle has drifted over time, the steadfastness of its roots remain.
Whittle: Where does the name Whittle come from?
The last name Whittle is most commonly found in the United Kingdom today. England has the majority of people with the surname, with census data from 2011 finding the top three regions for the surname to be Yorkshire, Lancashire and Derbyshire.
Outside of the UK, Whittle can also be located in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. In the US, people with the Whittle surname tend to cluster in the states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and California. Canada sees more Whittle's in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, while the main areas for the surname in Australia are New South Wales and Victoria. It is less concentrated in other countries, with Ireland having most of their Whittle’s living in counties Dublin and Cork, and New Zealand having people of the last name settled mostly in Canterbury, West Coast and Southland.
Whittle can be traced back to Anglo-Saxon origins and means ‘knife sharpener’ or ‘cutter of small objects’. The surname is fairly popular and in 2011 had 74,204 people with the surname in the UK.
Variations of the surname Whittle
The surname Whittle has several variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin. These include Whittel, Wittel, Whitel, Whital, Withall, and Whittley.
The surname Whittle is an English patronymic surname which derives from the old English personal name "Hwita" or "Hwitel", which in turn derives from the Old English adjective "hwit", meaning "white".
The surname can be found throughout the British Isles, with variants including Wittell, Wittel, Whital, Whitall, and Whittley. It is particularly common in the Lancashire region of England.
The surname Wittell is thought to have originated in the 13th century and is believed to have initially been a nickname for someone with pale skin or white hair.
The spelling of the surname has changed over time, with many families using various variations. For example, families living in Lancashire may use the spelling Wittel, while other families living in different parts of England may use the spelling Whittel.
The name Whittley is also related to Whittle and is thought to be a variant of Whittel rather than a separate surname.
Whittle is also found in Canada in the form of Whittel, with this version derived from English settlers who migrated to Canada in the 19th century. It is also found in Scotland and Ireland in the variants Whittal and Withall.
In summary, the surname Whittle and its variants are of English origin and were originally derived from the Old English adjective 'hwit', meaning 'white'. The name is particularly common in the Lancashire region of England, and variations of the name can also be found in Scotland, Ireland, and Canada.
Famous people with the name Whittle
- Sir Frank Whittle: Pioneered the development of the jet engine, credited with inventing the turbo jet in the 1930s.
- Doug Whittle: American Paralympic swimmer who won silver, bronze, and gold in the 2008 Summer Paralympics.
- Peter Whittle: British politician and former leader of the UKIP party.
- Simon Whittle: Assistant Director of Programmes at the British Council.
- Timothy Whittle: Cowboy poet who won the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2007.
- John Whittle: American country music singer and songwriter and member of the band Bandit.
- David Whittle: Author and police officer from the United Kingdom.
- Danny Whittle: Keyboardist with the English band Lighthouse Family.
- Meredith Whittle: Parisian-based contemporary artist who works mainly with photography and video art.
- Griffin Whittle: American cyclist who won the Tour de France in 2012.