The Littlefair Surname

About the Littlefair surname

The surname Littlefair is predominantly connected to County Durham and of particular interest to me (David Simpson) as it is one of my family names. It is still in need of further investigation, when time allows but below I have gathered together some of our findings relating to the early occurrences and possible origins of the surname which I have researched followed by some of the more extensive research undertaken by my father.

Further information on the later family history of our particular branch of the family (including its earlier links to Cockfield) has been researched by my father Albert Littlefair Simpson  who makes a brief mention of our family history in the Littlefair section of his website Bert’s Blogs.

Cockfield village
The vilalge of Cockfieldhas strong historic connections to the surname Littlefair © David Simpson

As we have noted on our North East surnames page there were, according to the 1881 census only 446 people called Littlefair living in Great Britain in 1881 of which there were the following number of individuals distributed by region:

  • County Durham : 196 Littlefairs
  • Lancashire : 89 Littlefairs
  • Yorkshire: 59 Littlefairs
  • Northumberland: 48 Littlefairs
  • Westmorland : 28 Littlefairs
  • Scotland : 13 Littlefairs
  • South West England : 1 Littlefair
  • London : 11 Littlefairs (the spelling there seems to be ‘Littlefear’).

In searching for the above individuals we looked for variations in spelling. When all the individuals are broken down into families, we have a relatively rare surname with a predominant Northern and North Eastern origin.

Although their numbers have included two Sheriffs of Nottingham (in the seventeenth century), the Littlefairs are firmly concentrated in County Durham and seem to have been focused there for many centuries, although significant but smaller branches could also later be found in Yorkshire, Northumberland and Lancashire (as still reflected in the 1881 census) all of which seem to have branched off from a Durham population at Cockfield.

It seems as though most if not all Littlefairs living today can be traced back to Cockfield village between Teesdale and Weardale in the 1600s, though Littlefairs do occur elsewhere, especially in south eastern Durham (what we might now call part of Teesside) in the earlier medieval period.

Durham Cathedral, Palace Green
Durham Cathedral, Palace Green © David Simpson

Littlefair surname : medieval occurrences

In early records of the medieval period Littlefair is predominantly found in County Durham, however, a very early reference to a Littlefair turns up in 1316 at a local ‘law merchant’ court case in St Ives in Cambridgeshire relating to two women: an Agnes Littlefair and an Isolde Clairvaux in respect of a covenant made in the town of Lynn. This is Kings Lynn, Norfolk, which was then the most important port in England.

At Lynn it had been covenanted that Isolde should remain in the service of Agnes for a period of one year. However, Isolde claimed that she had not received the agreed payment for the service. The court found in favour of Isolde.

Interestingly, the surname Clairvaux is also primarily associated with the North East or specifically North Yorkshire from early times (notably a senior branch of the family resided at Croft-on-Tees). We might speculate that these two individuals had some kind of connection to the North East of England in this important trading centre of Kings Lynn but this is simply a guess. Kings Lynn would certainly have links to North Eastern sea ports as well as to Europe with which it traded as part of the Hanseatic League.

Early mentions of the surname Littlefair also occur in south east Durham in the fourteenth century. In the Halmote Court Rolls of Durham Priory (a court that dealt with both the free and bonded tenants) the name Littlefair occurs in relation to Wolviston, part of the ancient Durham parish of Billingham as well as at nearby Cowpen (Cowpen Bewley).

Saxon church of St Cuthbert, Billingham.
Saxon church of St Cuthbert, Billingham © David Simpson

Names such as Fair-Jonson, Fair-Jon, Fayr-Jon and Litilannotson also occur at Wolviston and we should be cautious when considering surnames in this era when surnames were beginning to evolve and were not always fixed (see our introduction to surnames). These sort of given names might occur elsewhere. It could be that the name Littlefair occurred elsewhere in the county or even elsewhere in England but simply featured in court cases at Wolviston.

In 1366 a William Littlefair (Willelmo Litilfayr) is ordered to repair a house at Wolviston. The name occurs again the following year, this time recorded as Willelmus Litilfayr, but again in relation to Wolviston where William is elected, along with a William of Stockton as an official beer taster or ale conner for the manor of Wolviston, being responsible for checking that the local beer was up to standard.

Wolviston village
Wolviston village © David Simpson

In 1378, a Cecily Littlefair, widow of William Littlefair at Wolviston took one cottage and two acres of land that had been in his tenure (and formerly in the tenure of Richard, Kellow, Bishop of Durham) while in the same record a William (presumably Littlefair) took two acres of land in the tenure of his father.

In 1381 a surname ‘Lutfair’ appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire which the classic surnames work A Dictionary of English Surnames by PH Reaney and RM Wilson’ (1958, third edition 1995) cites as the earliest possible example of the Littlefair surname. The book interprets the surname as meaning ‘little companion’ or ‘little fere’ (from a Middle English word fere or feir) but as we can see, a number of records of the surname predate 1381.

The Durham Cathedral Priory Rentals 1396-7 (published by the Surtees Society) mentions a Cecilia Litilfair, a ward of Willielmi Stere at Wolviston. Another Littlefair (a W Litilfare) is listed under Dalton near Seaham in these records. In 1578 a Thomas Littlefair is mentioned as being the parish clerk of Kelloe.

The church at Kelloe is now whitewashed
The church at Kelloe © David Simpson

A John Littlefair is recorded as a King’s Scholar at Durham Cathedral in the The Injunctions and Other Ecclesiastical Proceedings of Richard Barnes 1577-1587 (Barnes was the Bishop of Durham). A christening of a John Littlefair is mentioned at Durham’s St Nicholas church in 1558 and it may be the same man, which would make him 22 at the time of the scholarship.

Sheriffs of Nottingham

The significant early seventeenth century connection to Nottingham is intriguing and hard to tie into the distribution of other records. In 1603 to 1604 Nottingham a William Littlefare and William Hyde are Sheriffs of Nottingham. Perhaps this was the same Nottingham-born ‘Wm Littlefare’ listed in International Genealogical Index (IGI) born around 1564, married 1589.

On 2nd August, 1606 again in Notttingham, a William Littlefere and Marmaduke Gregorie, are recorded as church wardens of St Mary in Nottingham and in 1624 a William Littlefare Junior and Thomas Cook are Sheriffs of Nottingham. Presumably this William Littlefare Junior was the son of the Sheriff of 1603/4. A William Littlefeere also occurs in Nottingham Borough records in 1632 : a Maister Littlefere, the Elder.

It is not clear if these Littlefairs have any connection to the Littlefairs of County Durham.

An early Littlefair in America

The earliest record I have found so far of a Littlefair in America dates to 1627 and concerns a court case in James City, Virginia and a witness by the name of Richard Littlefere aged 30 yeares “borne in the Bishoprick of Durham”. Perhaps this is the Rychard Littlephare christended October 2nd  1598 in Saint Nicholas church, Durham  City though this would make him 29 at the time of the court case.


Notes and records of the Littlefair surname

by Albert Simpson

The detailed information below is primarily for the guidance of those researching the Littlefair surname

These notes were compiled by my father, Albert Littlefair Simpson and the views and conclusions expressed are those of my dad.


More notes on Durham Littlefairs pre-1700s

Early Christening and Marriage Records

Although most of the ancient parish churches were built long before 1500 the earliest church records are in the main in the late 1500s. The churches that were involved with Littlefair christenings and marriages in the 1500s had records starting as follows :

  • Durham St. Nicholas 1540
  • Gateshead St. Mary 1559
  • Houghton St Michael and all Angels 1563
  • Bisopwearmouth St. Michael 1567
  • Witton Gilbert St Michael and all Angels 1570
  • Chester-le-Street St Mary and St. Cuthbert 1582
  • Durham St. Giles 1584

The Paul Joiner Marriage Index for County Durham shows the earliest recorded Littlefair marriage to be in 1582. The earliest christening record found is that of a John Littlephare at Durham St Nicholas Church 1/11/1558 – father, a William Littlephare.

Littlefair Data
Littlefair Data

Littlefair families : 1500s and early 1600s

I have examined the data and made a guess at some early Littlefair families. In most christening entries the father’s name had been quoted and that was helpful. In the odd record where the father’s name had not been quoted I entered the christening into the family listing if the christening fitted into a sequence of christenings and the location was appropriate. I discuss below the pros and cons of the relationships between the people for whom I have data.

I have inserted bold numbers to reference marriages. The first I reference is William (1). We do not have a record of his marriage just a number of sequential christenings that refer to William as father. A Philip (2) is recorded as a father of two early christenings. He may well be a brother of William.

Durham Market Place
Durham Market Place. The Victorian church of St Nicholas stands on the site of an earlier medieveal church of the same dedication © David Simpson

Christopher( Xpofer) at marriage (3) may be either an unrecorded son of William (1) or of one of his brothers? John at (4), I suspect, was the one christened by William in 1558. John has christenings at Durham St. Nicholas and Houghton and I debated whether there were two John’s or one with two families but the sequence of dates lead me to believe he simply lived somewhere between Durham and Houghton and used both churches. Elizabeth and John are repeat names but this is not unusual in that infant and child death were common.

We do not seem to have the christening of Richard (5) nor can I guess at it. There of course may be child weddings or late (youth) christenings though the sequences tend to discount the latter. Number (6) is Gulielmus, an early form of William. I cannot trace his ancestry. He might be the son of William (1) as there is no record of William (1) having a son William or possibly he could be one of his brother’s sons. Richards (7) and (8) I think are probably one and the same Richard marrying twice and most likely the Richard Christened by William (1) in 1571, calling children Margaret and Robert after an older sister and brother.

Thomas, marrying at Houghton at number (9) would likely be the one christened by Christopher (3) in 1593 at Bishopwearmouth. I suggest that he may well have had an earlier child called Thomas and probably at Houghton. No such record exists but it was usual for fathers to name a child after themselves and we have a number of suspect first and sometimes second born children not christened.

Edward at (10) would be the son of John (4) christened in 1587. The John (11) fathering a child at Gateshead 1n 1630 may well have been the John christened at Durham to marriage (4) in 1596. Richard at (12) could be either the son of John (4) or Richard (7) and christened either 1599 or 1610. Anthony at (13) we cannot trace although I suspect William (1) was his grandfather. William had a son called Anthony and one of his sons may well have given a child of his that name.

Edward at (14) christening an Edward at Bishopwearmouth in 1633 is, I believe, the Edward (10) who married at Durham in 1617. His wife has probably died and he has gone on to have a second marriage or relationship and named another son after himself. John (15) is possibly the son of Richard (8) christened in 1615.

Sunderland Minster
Sunderland Minster : formerly the parish church of Bishopwearmouth © David Simpson

We are particularly interested in Thomas (16), who married Dorathie Sigsworth. Was Thomas (16) or Thomas (19) the Thomas christened by Richard (8) in 1619? Did Thomas (9) as speculated above father a Thomas? Were Thomas (16) and Thomas (19) one and the same Thomas? (In other words he didn’t die but went off with another woman).

I am going to guess that Thomas (16) was an early son of Thomas (9) possibly born at Houghton. I note that Thomas (16) calls two of his sons George and Edward and this would support this guess as these sons would be named after two of Thomas’s brothers, though it does’nt explain the name Ralph. A Ralph had been born in 1584 to Philip (2) so the name may have been that of some relation.

Edward at (17) may have been the Edward born to marriage (10) in 1619. Richard, marrying at Brancepeth (18) would most likely be the son of marriage (10) between Edward and Mary in 1617 and christened in 1619.

Could George (20) be a Grandson of the George christened in 1643 by Thomas (16) and Dorathie Sigsworth. The William (21) marrying Ryton would be the one christened to marriage (15) and Robert (22) may well have been his brother christened 1653 though the 1657 christening to the Edward and Isabel Bird marriage (17) is equally likely. Robert’s wife Elizabeth Wren is recorded as being from Seaton Carew. He may well have met her on his journey from Bishopwearmouth to Stockton.

Littlefairs in the late 1600’s

The Cockfield connection

After the successful family of Edward and Elizabeth (reference 14) which included four males to 1633, there seems to have been only very limited success in raising Littlefair families and then only away from the old centres of population. England suffered the plague in the years up to and particularly bad in 1665. Might this have had it’s effect on the old populous centres.

In or about the year of 1653 Dorothy Littlefair left Gateshead and moved to the Parish of Hamsterley. At this time her son Ralph would be 3 and Edward 1. If they accompanied her George would be 10 and Margaret 6. Twenty years later, when Littlefair families in the rest of County Durham were at a very low ebb and petering out, The Littlefairs in the Cockfield area, who had become known as Littleforth’s were growing in numbers and the data for the early 1700’s shows us that the vast majority, if not all, of the Durham and Northumberland Littlefairs of subsequent years have their roots in the Cockfield area.

Pigeon lofts, grazing sheep and horses on Cockfield Fell
Pigeon lofts, grazing sheep and horses on Cockfield Fell © David Simpson

I believe that all of the Cockfield Littlefair’s emanated from Ralph and Edward, the two youngest sons of the Thomas Litlefare / Dorathie Sigsworth marriage and further argue that this marriage is of considerable significance in Durham Littlefair history since nearly all, if not all Durham and Northumberland Littlefairs will have this marriage on their family tree.

Miscellaneous Littlefair records

Littlefairs : Protestations (Stranton) 1641/2

The County Durham Protestations or returns made to the House of Commons in 1641/2 for the maintenance of the Protestant religion for the County Palatine of Durham, for the borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed and for the parish of Morpeth are published in volume 135 of the Surtees Society. It includes recorded sheets of names (signatories) that were gathered from each parish. There must be hundreds upon hundreds of names in this volume from and throughout Durham with the following Littlefairs listed:

At Stranton (Hartlepool): John Littlephaire, Robert Littlephare and Thomas Littlephare. Could these three Littlephaires at Stranton be the same as the Littlephaires Robert, John and Thomas Littlephaires christened at St Nicholas Durham City in 1604, 1615 and 1619?

There was a Margaret Littlefair married at Stranton in 1631. Later records connected with the Hartlepool area include a George Littlefair married at Greatham and a John Littlefair christened at Greatham in 1685. A Susanna Littlefaire is married at Stranton in 1723.

Stranton Church, Hartlepool
Stranton church Hartlepool © David Simpson

A Littlefair recusant?

In the 1605-1786 Yorkshire Quarter Sessions Records North Riding (brief notices of entries in the minutes and orders of Quarter Sessions, 1605-1786, with abstracts or literal copies of the more important ones) there are included lists of recusants, registration of papists’ estates, enrolment of indentures, etc. A Cuthbert Littlefere is listed (under list of recusants?) but the date is uncertain.

A Richard Littlefair at Durham City 17th century

At St. Giles (Durham City): A Richard Littlefare is listed (a footnote says that Felton has been crossed out and that Littlefare was substituted on the manuscript. The only Richards on the IGI from this period are all from St Nicholas Church in Durham City the neighbouring parish to St Giles in Durham City. Possible candidates are Richard Littlefare (christened 1571), Richard Littlefaire (married 1585), Richard Littlephare (christened 1598), Richard Littlefaire (married 1602), Richard Littlephare (christened 1610), Richard Littlephare (married 1614), Richard Littlephaier (married 1632).

Littlefairs at Harraton and Gateshead

In the Constabulary of Harraton: (Lambton Park/Fatfield area alongside the river Wear (an area that in the 1640s the most important mining area in the North East.) Listed is a Robert Littlefare. I have not found any Roberts from the Harraton/Washington area in this period. There were Roberts christened at Durham St. Nicholas in 1604 , at Gateshead in 1634 and at Bishopwearmouth in 1657. The latter is too late and of the other two the Durham christening seems the most likely. Harraton lies between Bishopwearmouth and Gateshead and I think would have been in the parish of Chester-le-Street.

At Gateshead: A Thomas Littlefaire is listed. This is most probably the Thomas Littlefair who married Dorathie Sigsworth at Gateshead in 1641. It was the marriage from which most if not all Durham and Northumberland Littlefairs descend.

At Kelloe Town: A Ralph Littlfare is listed. The only possible match for this Ralph Littlefare in the IGI would be the one christened at St Margaret’s Durham City in 1584 (57 years earlier). A Ralph Littlefair, christened at Gateshead in 1650 and born to the above Thomas and Dorothy marriage, might have been named after this Ralph. I am convinced that, in these times, the links between all Littlefairs were such that they knew of each other.

At Bishop Wearmouth: An Edward Littleforth is listed. This Edward Littleforth could be the same as the Edward Littlefur married at Bishopwearmouth in 1645.

Durham and Northumberland Littlefair References from 1650 to 1800

Will of Ralph Newby 1658

December 1658 Copy of probate of will of Ralph Newby of Woodland in the parish of Cockfield (dated 11 August 1658)

5s. p.a. charged on East Farm bequeathed in perpetuity to the Overseers of the Poor of Cockfield; devises East Farm to his niece Dorothy, wife of John Mayer of Hamsterley for life, thence to her husband if he survive her, with remainder to Ralph Littlefaire, son of Dorothy charged with the payment of various legacies and rent-charges to the brothers and sisters of Ralph; devises West Farm at Woodland to brother Charles Newby for life, thence to Charles, son of George Newby (which George is another of the testator’s brothers) charged with an annuity to Jennett Robinson of South Church of 20s.; minor bequests.

The above is from Durham Record Office Ref No. D/HH 3/5/35 24

Dorothy, we know, was Dorothy Sigsworth, who had married a Thomas Littlefair at Gateshead in 1641 and thereby had the above named Ralph Littlefaire in 1650. She, I suspect, on the death of Thomas had returned to her birth area in either 1652 or 1653 and had married John Mayer at Hamsterley in 1655. There was clearly a relationship between her and the Ralph Newby mentioned above. She may well have named her son Ralph, a benefactor in the above will, after him.

Anthony Littlefaire : Gateshead 1660

1660 Gateshead: Anthony Littlefaire is mentioned in Records of notable events connected with the Borough of Gateshead (published 1848) Cole’s Charity.

James Cole, by his will, bearing date 29th August, 1660, gave to the poor of the parish of Gateshead 40s. annually, which, with the like yearly sum given by his father, Ralph Cole, of Gateshead, made £4 to be yearly paid to the same poor every Saint Thomas’s day; and for the performance of the same, he gave the house that Anthony Parker lived in, and the little house in the Murke Chare, in which Anthony Littlefaire lived, and which were then let for £4 16s. And in case his executors should make default in payment, he declared his will to be, that the church wardens and the four-and twenty of the said parish should enter and enjoy the said two houses for the use ot the said parish for ever. In respect of this charity, the yearly sum of £4 is paid by Thomas Easton, Esq., the owner of the premises charged therewith ; and the amount is also carried to the general charity account.

The Anthony referred to may well be the Anthony who married Margery Davison at Houghton le Spring in 1633.

More 18th century Littlefairs

1700s? Newcastle: Newcastle upon Tyne records Society of Antiquaries mentions a John Littlefair and Thomas Littlefair, Robert Littlefair (1700s?)

1786 Durham: Parish Records Durham St Oswald Ref No. EP/Du.SO 112/4/85 Littlefair, Thomas, 28 August 1786 (1 paper)

1786 Durham: Parish Records Durham St Oswald Ref No. EP/Du.SO 112/4/52 Littlefair, Thomas; Parker, Isabella, 9 August 1786 (1 paper)

1786 Newcastle Book Subscribers: An over subscribed book ( the hundreds of subscribers, most of these in the north east and Cumbria, exceed the first edition print) includes in the three hundred plus required in the Newcastle area and under the name George Losh (who requires two copies) some 16 other names. One of these names and the only sub entry requiring 2 copies is a Thos. Littlefair. The Losh family were industrialists dealing in iron and steel and chemicals. The book was called ” A course of physico-theological lectures upon the state of the world, from creation to the deluge” and was by a Robert Miln and printed in Carlisle.

1790-1797 Newcastle: At least one Littlefair mentioned in “Inhabitants of Newcastle upon Tyne in Northumberland” (1790-1797) The provincial sections of the Universal British Directory include lists of gentry and traders from each town and the surrounding countryside, with names of local surgeons, lawyers, postmasters, carriers, &c.

Other UK Littlefair References from 1650 to 1800

1677 Nottingham: A John Littlefaire BA is listed as being the Usher of the Free School at Nottingham. In 1685 he seems to have been “lately deceased”.

1691-1692 National: At least one mention in “Official Papers (1691-1692)”The State Papers Domestic cover all manner of business relating to Britain, Ireland and the colonies, conducted in the office of the Secretary of State as well as other miscellaneous records. Includes lists of passes to travel abroad.

Pre 1700 (1577-1700) Nottingham:

At least one of each of litlefair, littlefaire, littlefare, littlefear littlefeare, littlefeere occur in “Nottinghamshire Marriage Licences” (1577-1700). Nottingham Archdeaconry, which was almost coextensive with the County of Nottingham, lay in the diocese and province of York, but it had substantially independent jurisdiction for both probate and the issuing of marriage licences. These are abstracts of the archdeaconry marriage licences. They usually state the groom’s address, occupation, age, and condition; the bride’s address, age and condition; and the names of the churches or parishes at which it was intended the marriage would be celebrated.

Pre 1714 (1500-1714) Oxford University: Alumni Oxiensis Members of the University of Oxford 1500-1714. 1517-30, from Mere, Wilts, BA 8 July, 1521, MA 4 July, 1525 ; rector of Orcheston St. Mary, Wilts, 1532. See Foster’s Index Eccl. Littlefayre, Thomas.

1723-1741 National: At least one Littlefear mentioned in Masters and Apprentices (1723, 1733 and 1741 ) Apprenticeship indentures and clerks’ articles were subject to a 6d or 12d per pound stamp duty: the registers of the payments usually give the master’s trade, address, and occupation, and the apprentice’s father’s name and address, as well as details of the date and length of the apprenticeship. 7 January to 31 and 2 January to 2 August 1733 December 1723. and 1 January to 31 December 1741 and 1755

1747 Surrey Kew record: Description of Will of John Littlefair, Victualler of Saint John Southwark , Surrey Date 30 December 1747 Catalogue reference PROB 11/758 Dept Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Series Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers Piece Name of Register: Potter Quire Numbers: 287 – 335 Image contains 1 will of many for the catalogue reference

1761 Plymouth: Ship News in the London Chronicle with the sub heading Plymouth March 24 includes the following. ” Arrived the Thomas and Ann Littlefair of Whitby for London from North Carolina. She sailed the 15th in company with the Edgecombe, White of this port and adapted the 17th.”

Pre 1763 (1566 and 1763) Nottingham: Parish records show marriage of John Littlefeere and Anne Hopkin 18 December year? (between 1566 and 1763 St Mary’s parish chucrh Nottingham).

1767 Bermondsey : A Thos. Littlefair, mariner of St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey is recorded in a list with about forty other nationwide trades in a B-K T-S section of The Gentlemans Magazine and Historical Chronicle 1767.

1782 Middlesex: Description of Will of Thomas Littlefear, Apothecary of St Margarets Westminster, Middlesex Date 07 January 1782 Catalogue reference PROB 11/1086 Dept Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Series Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers Piece Name of Register: Gostling Quire Numbers: 1 – 48 Image contains 1 will of many for the catalogue reference

1784 Greenwich: Admirality Records Scope and Content show Greenwich out-pensioners applying for admission into Greenwich Hospital as in-pensioners (after service in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines or the Naval Dockyards). Covering date 1784 April 8 applicants were George Allen, Robert Allen, Thomas Allesbruck, Charles Axbrough, John Burt, Thomas Colckitt, Michael Collins, Thomas Cowing, John Hall, William Leslie, John Littlefair, Thomas Smith, Charles Tozer, Thomas Wright, William Williams and William Wright.

1785 National: One Littlefear mentioned in Deaths, Marriages, News and Promotions (1785) Death notices and obituaries, marriage and birth notices, civil and military promotions, clerical preferments, and bankrupts, as reported in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Mostly from England and Wales, but items from Ireland, Scotland and abroad.

1790-1797 Whitby: At least one littlefair is mentioned in Inhabitants of Whitby in the North Riding of Yorkshire (1790-1797)

1790-1797 Staffordshire: At least one littlefear mentioned in Inhabitants of Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire (1790-1797) The provincial sections of the Universal British Directory include lists of gentry and traders from each town and the surrounding countryside, with names of local surgeons, lawyers, postmasters, carriers, &c. (the sample scan here is from the section for Bath).

1791-1797 London: At least one littlefear in Members of London livery companies (1791-1797). One of the most useful sections of the Universal British Directory, nominally produced in 1791 but including later material, is a List of the Livery of London, giving the names and addresses of members of the London livery companies, together with their professions. As a glance at the sample will show, the companies and the professions only sometimes match, so this is an invaluable key as a first step in tracing the relevant company records for a London trader of this period

1794 National: At least one littlefear In Deaths, Marriages, News and Promotions (1794). Death notices and obituaries, marriage and birth notices, civil and military promotions, clerical preferments and domestic occurrences, as reported in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Mostly from England and Wales, but items from Ireland, Scotland and abroad.

Foreign Littlefair References from 1650 to 1800

1694 -65 Greece: The Occupation of Chios by the Venetians (Greece) (1694) involved the Dutch etc. There is a case involving some Dutch sea captains called Bernard and Soutmeeter versus Captain George Littlefair.

1742 America Philadelphia County: Administration Book (1737-1743) (USA) mentions a Letter of Address to James Payne of the City of Philadelphia cooper, creditor of John Smith, dec. (during minority of Samuel Littlefair borther of the said dec 6 Dec 1742.)

Durham and Northumberland Littlefair References from 1800 to 1900

1808 County Durham: Mark Howarth Littlefair born 1808 has a biography in the 1889 Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend. I have a copy of this. He was a key member of the temperance movement well known in Sunderland and was a glass blower/ bottle maker by trade. His father, a soldier in the barracks at Woolwich was called Richard Howarth. Richard had married Hannah Littlefair at Bishopwearmouth, 1805. They had christened their son at the Sunderland CornMill Chapel in 1808 as Mark Littlefair Howarth. He for some reason had decided to use his mother’s maiden name. I suggest that the Mark Howarth Littlefair in the colliery incident of 1912 was related. I also note that in Kelly’s directory of Newcastle, Gateshead and the Shields dated 1883 a Thomas Littlefair Howarth is an Accountant at 22, Fawcett Street.

1813 County Durham: One Littlefair mentioned in the poll, at the election of one citizen, to serve in parliament for the City of Durham 1813. Candidates George Allan and George Baker includes Thomas Littlefair, draper. His abode is listed as “Durham Militia” (electorate included people from as far away as Gateshead and Sunderland).

1824 Durham Militia Kew Record Office: Collective Petition (by two people: Thomas Littlefair and Joseph Littlefair, brothers of the prisoner) on behalf of William Littlefair, soldier, convicted by Court Martial of desertion. The prisoner is held on board the Leviathan (convict ship/hulk) at Portsmouth Harbour. There is a certificate of attendance and good conduct from Captain John Simpson, Durham Regiment of Militia. Grounds for clemency: the prisoner (Durham Regiment of Militia and 70th Regiment of Foot) and other family members have a long and honourable record of military service. Initial sentence: transportation for life. Annotated: ’30 Apl [April] 1824, nil’. Fk28. Covering dates 1824 Apr 12. Availability Open Document, Open Description, Normal Closure before FOI Act: 30 years Held by The National Archives, Kew

1825 Cockfield etc Durham Record Office: Ref No. D/HH 3/5/41 Details of surrender of Goose Close etc. to be prepared from Colpitts and Littlefair to John Bell, [1825] (1 paper)

1825 Hamsterley Area Durham Record Office: Ref No. D/HH 3/5/42 1825 (1) Jane Colpitts and others (the daughters and coheirs of Thomas Colpitts) and Edward Littlefair of Potters Cross, yeoman (devisee of Sarah Waller) (2) John Bell of West Auckland, yeoman. Draft surrender by (1) to (2) of Goose Close etc. at Woodland (1 paper)

1832 County Durham: Four Littlefairs mentioned in The Poll for two Knights of the Shire to represent in parliament the southern division of the County Palatine of Durham. Three candidates 1832 (Joseph Pease, John Bowes, Robert Duncombe Shafto).

John Littlefair, West Mayland, Witton-le-Wear “Land as Occupier” Didn’t seem to vote.

John Littlefair, Witton-le-Wear “Freehold Premises” voted for Pease.

Robert Littlefair, Witton-le-Wear “Freehold Field” voted for Pease.

Edward Littlefair, Potters Cross (near Hamsterley Forest), Lynesack and Softley “Copyhold premises” didn’t seem to vote.

1840-1907 Register of Durham School: From January 1840 to December 1907 by Lawrence Ambrose Body, Charles Stratford Earle – School yearbooks – 1908 – mentions a Johannes Littlefaire a pupil?

1855 Darlington: There is a Police Constable in Darlington of the name Littlefair at this time mentioned in connection with a coroner’s inquest.

1856 County Durham Whellan’s History: Topography, and Directory of the County Palatine of Durham 1856. This document mentions a John Litlefair( Farmer) at Graney Hill, Darlington. At West Auckland an Edward Litlefair( Schoolmaster). At Etherley a George Litlefair( boot and shoe maker) . Hamsterley area includes George Litlefair( farmer). Listed in Darlington there is a Robert Littlefair of 20 Northgate. He is listed under the heading “grocery, flour and general dealers”. At Barnard Castle listed under farmers and graziers there is a John Littlefair of “Road End”.

1859 Durham ? December: There is some court case involving a Littlefair listed in law journals etc. but haven’t got any more details than this (somehwere in Co. Durham I think)

1868 County Durham: Register of voters for the southern division of the county of Durham, 1868-9. This includes amongst the eligible voters George Litlefair Junior, Mayland Hall (near Hamsterley Forest), Joseph Litlefair, West Mayland and Edward Litlefair of Little Ketton. (No Littlefairs listed in same election for north Durham 1868-9)

1870s Teesside: A news article or book by “Criticus”. In this a William Littlefair is described as the President of the Stockton and Middlesbrough branch of the Mormons. He was active as a preacher around 1870s and is described as being a clinker on the North Eastern Railway. Some people emigrated to Utah after hearing his sermons.

1876 Teesside: The latter day saints millennial star 1876 by A. Carrington mentions a meeting at Newcastle of the Newcastle and Durham branch held in May 1876? with William Litlefair (an Elder) on the stand

1880 Darlington: Borough Council Local Authority record Ref No. Da/NG 2/1112. Covering letter and plan showing projection bow window proposed to be sold to the Corporation on property [26] belonging to Mr. Littlefair and occupied by Hay & Co., Butchers, on the west side of Northgate, Darlington; William Hodgson, architect (plan no. 1880/23), 28 April 1880

1893 Newcastle (Heaton): Description Name: Simpson, Henry Littlefair -. Official Number: M33416 – Place of Birth: Heaton, Northumberland Date 13 April 1893. Catalogue reference ADM 188/1084 Dept Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, coastguard, and related bodies Series Admiralty: Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services Piece 33001-33500 Image contains 1 document of many for this catalogue reference

1897 Durham Light Infantry: Ref No. D/DLI 7/346/5(26) Group photograph of ‘G’ Half Company, 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taken at Poona, India, February 1897 Back row: Currie, McGuire, Fryer, Stephen, Green Fourth row: White, Davis, Stimpson, Darwin, Fletcher, Lindsley, Miles, Wedge, Turner, Talbot Third row: Henry, Littlefair, Lee, Hall, Mills, Harding, McWilliams, York, Mullen, Murdock, Ryan Second row: Shannon, Cook, McIntyre, Cowell, Findlay, Wilson, Spoors, Thompson, Gilfoy, Hirons Front row: Lance-Corporal Pilkington, Sullivan, Blair, Sergeant Hodgson, Second-Lieutenant Macpherson, Second-Lieutenant Gibson, Lance-Sergeant Haines, Rutherford, Grady, Hall On ground: Lance-Corporal Wayman, Cotter

1897 Durham Light Infantry: Ref No. D/DLI 2/2/135(28) Photograph of ‘G’ Half Company of the 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry: Currie, McGuire, Fryer, Stephen, Green, White, Davis, Stimpson, Darwin, Fletcher, Lindsley, Miles, Wedge, Turner, Talbot, Henry, Littlefair, Lee, Hall, Mills, Harding, McWilliams, York, Mullen, Murdock, Ryan, Shannon, Cook, McIntyre, Cowell, Findlay, Wilson, Spoors, Thompson, Gilfoy, Hirons, Lance-Corporal Pilkington, Sullivan, Blair, Sergeant Hodgson, Second Lieutenant Macpherson, Second. Lieutenant Gibson, Lance Sergeant Haines, Rutherford, Grady, Hall, Lance-Corporal Wayman, Cotter, 1897

Other UK Littlefair References from 1800 to 1900

1805 London: At least one Littlefear In Traders and professionals in London (1805). Holden’s Triennial Directory for 1805 to 1807 includes this ‘London Alphabet of Businesses, Professions, &c.’: Coverage is good; about 30,000 individuals are recorded.

1805 London: At least one Littlefear in Inhabitants of London (1805). Holden’s Triennial Directory for 1805 to 1807 includes this ‘London Alphabet. Private Residences’. About 10,000 people are recorded.

1805 London: At least one Littlefear in London medical men (1805). Holden’s Triennial Directory of 1805 to 1807 lists London fellows, candidates, licentiates, licentiates in midwifery and extra licentiates of the Royal College of Physicians, members of the Royal College of Surgeons, members of the Society of Apothecaries, and fellows of the Medical Society of London, as well as officers and council of the society, and vice-presidents, officers and medical assistants of the Royal Humane Society for the Restoration of Human Life, and the officers and directors of the Society for the Relief of Widows and Orphans of Medical Men in London and its Vicinity.

1822 Middlesex: Description Will of Gervas Littlefear, Gentleman of Westminster , Middlesex Date 30 April 1822 Catalogue reference PROB 11/1656 Dept Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Series Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers Piece Name of Register: Merschell Quire Numbers: 201 – 250 Image contains 1 will of many for the catalogue reference

1835-1836 National: At least one littlefair mentioned in “British merchant seamen” (1835-1836) At this period, the foreign trade of ships plying to and from the British isles involved about 150,000 men on 15,000 ships; and the coasting trade about a quarter as many more. A large proportion of the seamen on these ships were British subjects, and so liable to be pressed for service in the Royal Navy; but there was no general register by which to identify them, so in 1835 parliament passed a Merchant Seamen’s Registration Bill. The register records the number assigned to each man; his name; age; birthplace; quality (master, captain, mate, 2nd mate, mariner, seaman, fisherman, cook, carpenter, boy &c.); and the name and home port of his ship, with the date of the crew list (usually at the end of a voyage).

1835 Surrey: Description Will of Catherine Elizabeth Littlefear, Spinster of Kennington , Surrey dated 01 September 1835. Catalogue reference PROB 11/1852 Dept Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Series Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers Piece Name of Register: Gloster Quire Numbers: 551 – 600 Image contains 1 will of many for the catalogue reference

1836 Yorkshire: Book: Land and Industry: The Landed Estate and the Industrial Revolution: a Symposium. In 1836 a James Littlefair was the mineral agent for Sir George Denys (in Swaledale?) concerning ironstone mining. Mentioned in Draycott Hall manuscripts.

1844 National: At least one littlefair mentioned in “Insolvents (1844)” Insolvency notices for England and Wales: insolvency often caused people to restart their lives elsewhere, so these are an important source for lost links

1853 Yorkshire: At least one littlefair mentioned in “Inhabitants of Settle, Yorkshire (1853)” William White’s directory lists traders, farmers and private residents in the area.

1854 Scotland: At least one littlefair Scottish Bankrupts (1854)Scotch Sequestrations: bankruptcy often caused people to restart their lives elsewhere, so these are an important source for lost links

1855 Scotland: At least one littlefair mentioned in “Scottish Partnerships Dissolved and Trustees of Bankrupts (1855)”Trading partnerships dissolved in Scotland, and appointment of trustees for Scotch Sequestrations: business failure and bankruptcy often caused people to restart their lives elsewhere, so these are an important source for lost links

1856 Scotland: “The Jurist” – law reports digests etc 1856 list under “Scotch sequestrations” Joseph Littlefair, Glasgow, Tailor. This seems to be under the main heading “Bankrupts”

1857 England and Wales: At least one Littlefair “Insolvents (1857)” Insolvency notices for England and Wales: insolvency often caused people to restart their lives elsewhere, so these are an important source for lost links

1875-1881 Staffordshire? At least one littlefair mentioned in Outstanding soldiers of the 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot (1875-1881) Each year the best soldiers of the regiment were chosen for long service and good conduct medals. This register gives rank, name, regimental number, and date of recommendation. (The sample scan is from the 34th foot). The register is essentially a register of recommendations, but from 1877-8 onwards there are also details of the issue of the medals. The regiment was sent to Ireland in 1877, and on to Malta in 1880.

Foreign Littlefair (USA) references 1800 to 1900

1840 America: According to the distribution map on there was only one Littlefair family in the United States at this time

1852 to 1880 America (new york passenger lists): gives the following Littlefairs arriving America. One Littlefair in each of the years 1852, 1854 1863, 1873 and 1878. Four Littlefair families arrive in 1879.

1880 Census America: United States of America census lists 5 Littlefair families, 1 Littlfair family and 1 Littlefaix family. Details as follows:

Logan, Cache, Utah: Home to Isabella Littlefaix [sic] and her son. Aged 57 she was born England (c 1848) and both her parents were English born. She is the head of the household. Her son is John aged 24 a Carpenter. He was born about 1856 in England.

New Town, Livingston, Illinois: Home to Benjamin Littlefair and family. Aged 22 born England (c 1858) he is a coal miner and both his parents were born in England. His wife Lizzie aged 21 born about 1859 in Canada. Their child is 11 months old and called John. He was born in Illinois.

Port Austin, Huron, Michigan: Home to William Littlefair and family. Aged 36 born England (c 1844) he is a farmer and both his parents were born in England. His wife Mary aged 33 born about 1834 in Canada (Both her parents were born in Ireland). Their children all born in Michigan except for the eldest who was born in Canada are (with ages): Margaret (12), Amande (9), William (7), Mary A E (4), Ellen M (1).

New Berlin, Chenango, New York: Home to Hattie Littlfair [SIC] and family. Aged 35 born New York (c 1845) both her parents were also born in New York. She is the head of the household. Her children were all born in New York and are as follows: (with ages) Mary C (11), George E (10), Merrit G (7), Clarnce (5).

White Oak Springs, La Fayette, Wisconsin: Home to Thomas Littlefair and family. Aged 60 born England (c 1820) he is a farmer and both his parents were born in England. His wife Sarah aged 46 born about 1834 in England. Their children, all born in Wisconsin are (with ages): Margaret (20), William (18), Victoria (16), Elizabeth (14), Thomas(12), Olive (10), Guy (8), Alfred (6).

Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania: Home to Benjamin Littlefair and family. Aged 32 born England (c 1848) he is a Pudler and both his parents were born in England. His wife Margret aged 33 was born about 1847 in Ireland (both her parents were also born in Ireland). Their two children were both born in New York. The children (with ages) are: Mary E (3), Thomas James (8 months).

1882, 1887 and 1889 America: (New York passenger lists): gives the following Littlefairs arriving America. One in 1882, seven in 1887 and one in 1889

1888 America and Stockton: The History of Utah 1904 mentions the marriage on April 15 1888 of a Miss Margaret Littlefair of Stockton-on-Tees to a man working on the Pacific Express and Utah southern railway.

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