There are a number of recorded places in the British Isles whose name is prefixed Whittle, itself a fused form of "white hill," probably describing a chalky area. These places, which have all given rise to later surnames, include Whitlinham in Norfolk, Whittle itself in Lancashire, Whittlebury and Whittlewood in Northamptonshire, Whittlesey and Whittleford in Cambridgeshire. However there does not appear to be a Whittleton, Wittleton, Wettleton or Whettleton, meaning the village (ton) on the white hill, although these spellings are all found as surnames. Surnames from now "lost" medieval villages are quite popular in the British Isles. It has been estimated that perhaps as many as 3000 surnames representing 5% of all surnames originate from hamlets, villages or even small towns that have now disappeared. The reasons for these "disappearances" include coastal erosion, civil war, the great plagues of the 14th to the 17th centuries which wiped out whole communities, as well as creeping industrialisation and the grabbing of common lands by greedy landlords. The surname is well recorded in the city of London from the begining of the 18th century, but almost certainly had originated somewhere else, although we have not been able to identfy the area. Early recordings include William Whittleton whose son Richard was christened at St Mary's Lewisham, on May 8th 1708, and George Whettlton whose daughter Elisabeth, was christened at St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on March 19th 1735.
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