Recorded in the spellings of Littlefair, Littelfair and the unusual dialectal Littefair, this most unusual surname is English. It originated as a term of endearment for a companion or playmate, and it is therefore hardly surprising that it has remained an uncommon name for many centuries. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century "lytel", meaning small or little, and "feara", a comrade or companion. The proof for the meaning is shown in a famous quotation from Halliwell's "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words", which reads as follows - "Farewell my doughter Kateryne, late the feare to Prince Artour, late may chyld so dere". The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. Examples of these early recordings include Henricus and Elizabeth, children of Johis Litlefare, who were christened at Wensley, Yorkshire, on July 23rd 1582 and September 3rd 1590, respectively, whilst one Thomas Lytlefayr or Litlefere of County Durham was recorded in the register of the University of Oxford in 1585. Other early recordings include Robert Littlefayer, who married Elizabeth Sympson at Caton, Lancashire, on September 22nd 1627. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Lutfair which was dated 1381, in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire. This was during the reign of King Richard 11, and known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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