Recorded as Whittlesea, Whittlesee, Whittlesey and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It hails from the villages of Whittlesey and Whittlesey Mere some five miles from the town of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. The villages were first recorded in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 971 a.d. and later in the even more famous Domesday Book of the county in 1086. The name means Witel's Island and lake, the area being almost entirely fen, until drained by Dutch engineers in the 16th century.Apparently an original owner, one Witel, was a famous early banker, being recorded by the then term of "monyer". As such it may have been necessary for him to live on an island for protection from the roving bands of would be "Robbing" Hoods! Locational surnames were usually "from" names. That is to say name given to people after they left a particular region or village to move somewhere else as easy identification. However in the case the name is well recorded all around its homeland, perhaps suggesting that many name holders descend from the original lord of the manor. These recordings include Robert Whittlesey who married Elysabeth Stockdale at Gravely on June 16th 1612, and another Robert, but this time recorded as Whittlesee, who married Margaret Fleet at St Sepulchre, Cambridge, on August 3rd 1683
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