This famous Yorkshire name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may be either a locational or topographical surname. If the former, it derives from any of several minor places in West Yorkshire, such as Littlewood in Wooldale near Holmfirth, all of which are so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "lytel", little, small, and "wudu", wood. There is a locality known as Littlewood in Staffordshire, near Cannock, which may also be the ource of the modern surname in some instances. Locational surnames were used particularly as a means of identification by those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Littlewood may also be a topographical surname, for someone who lived in or by a "small wood", derived from the same Olde English elements; Robert atte Lytlewode, recorded in the Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls of 1327, is an example of the topographical name. Early recordings of the name from Yorkshire include: Johannes de Litylwode and Willelmus de Litilwode, both listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1379; the marriage of William Littlewood and Elizabeth Charlesworth, on July 28th 1550, at Kirkburton; and the christening of Thomas, son of John Littlewood, in Bradfield, on August 2nd 1573. The Littlewood Coat of Arms depicts a gold bull's head erased on a blue shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Litelwode, which was dated 1275, in the "Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.
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