Last name: Butterfield

This very interesting surname is locational and derives from a 'lost' hamlet which was originally on the border of the West Riding of Yorkshire and Lancashire, near Todmorden. The modern surname is almost equally recorded in both counties, although almost all very early recordings are from Yorkshire, except oddly the very first as shown below. The development is the from the Olde English pre 7th century 'butor' meaning a bittern, a bird of the heron family renowned for its call at mating time, whilst the ancient 'feld' originally described an open area, one which had been cleared for agriculture. Paradoxically the later middle English 12th century 'field' actually describes a 'fenced area'. The early registers for the original 1379 Poll Tax include those of Willelmus de Bottesfeld and Isabella Botterfeld, both of the county of York, whilst in 1423 William de Butterfield (also recorded as Boterfeld) appears in the Wills List deposited at Chester, which suggests that he was from Lancashire or Cheshire. The Coat of Arms granted to the family has the blazon of a red field charged with a gold griffin segreant. The modern spelling forms also included Butterfint and Butterfill, whilst amongst the famous name holders are Swithun Butterfield of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, who is believed to have influenced Oliver Cromwell towards puritanism, and Robert Butterfield, also of Cambridge at the same time. The name has a long association with Universities as two hundred and fifty years later William Butterfield was, in 1876, the architect of Keble College, Oxford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Buteresfeld, which was dated 1199, in the pipe rolls of Buckinghamshire, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017

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Wow I'm amazed at how many Butterfield's are out there I didn't think it was a very popular name. I live in Australia and there isn't many I know of here besides my immediate family.

Susan Lesley
John Warren Butterfield founded the companies that became American Express and Wells Fargo in the 18th centuary..Also ran freight across from St Louis to San Fransisco.. in 1970 BUtterfield was a telephone exchange on Manhattan the code was BU for the classy parts of Manhattan..Famous film Butterfield8 staring Liz taylor, Also a department store in New York that was located in the shopping precinct under the twin towers .But Im from Yorkshire and a Butterfield, so the name could actually be American and not English..Who knows...

I'm a Butterfield from WA State, USA. We appear to be everywhere!


Francis Butterfield, 1771 from Bradford, Yorkshire is the oldest ancestor I can find. His son wandered out to Australia, died on the Bass Strait at sea, leaving a wife and two children. One of his sons, Francis Johnson Butterfield born in Hobart was quite a lad and chased gold. He ended up in Dunedin N.Z. is my g.g. Grandfather. He married Catherine Frederic. Together they started the oldest furniture factory in N.Z. I live in Norway, but will be spending Xmas close by (2 hours). Will visit the Bradford Church and try and find a grave. Anybody know any if this family who still live in the area .... ???


And by the way ... Butterfield, is english as Rick explained. Patricia and Jonathan and Katherine Emily, we could be related ..... Check it out !!!

I can believe theirs this much of us

Matt Butterfield
Anybody know if Butterfields from Lancashire have any Scotish roots? Looking for tartan for a wedding??

Wallace Butterfield
I am a Butterfield. Do you think you could trace down my family members? Thanks, Wallace

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