This is an English surname. It is locational and either from the town of Whitchurch, in the county of Shropshire, in the west midlands of England or from one of the lesser villages in the counties of Berkshire, Dorset, Oxford, Wiltshire or Warwickshire. The place name and hence the surname means "The white church" from the pre 7th century Olde English "whit-kyrche". The "white" is probably a reference to limestone, although it may have been just a generic term used for a stone building at a time when very few houses or buildings of any type were built in this material, most being of simple wood and lathe construction with mud walls. The first known recordig of the place name is probably that of Whitchurch in Oxfordshire which is recorded as "Hwitecyrcan" in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 1001 a.d. The first known recording of the surname, or certainly one of the very earliest is that of Henry de Wichirch of Oxford in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, or that of Nicholas de Witchurch of Buckingham in the same rolls. John del Whitechirche is recorded in the charters known as the Close Rolls for the city of London in 1278, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307.
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