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About the study

My One-Name Study began rather typically through trying to trace a particular group of ancestors in a small geographical area and, for fear of missing some individuals, I recorded all instances of the surname in the parish records. I then entered them into a spreadsheet with the data from the census records to reconstruct the various families in the area. I was lucky in that the Catchlove surname is so rare and confined to a tiny geographical area. I initially identified 9 separate families; subsequent research has shown some of these to be of common descent, giving a current total of 5 families in the UK between 1841 and 1911. Given the small geographical spread and rarity of the name, it is my belief that further research will reveal a common descent for all Catchlove families.

Variant names

I have identified only two relatively modern variants of the surname Catchlove: Katchlove and Ketchlove, which may well be regarded as deviant spellings rather than true variants as they only seem to occur from the late 18th Century until the 1850s in one or two parishes in Sussex where the more usual Catchlove spelling is also found. Ketchlove may well represent a cleric spelling the name as he heard it, as ketch is a typical Hampshire pronunciation of the word catch. However, parish records for Compton (Sussex) include *Alice CACHALOWE* in 1656 and *Mary KACKELOVE* in 1657, which may either be early variants of Catchlove or deviant spellings as they predate standardised spelling; these are no longer extant. Sussex parish records also include variants of Catchellor and Ketcheller in the 16th & 17th centuries, but they tend to occur in different parishes so I am not convinced that these are Catchloves, although I continue to record them for future reference. Catchlove is frequently mistranscribed in online records - however, entries with transcript errors found using Soundex include: *Catch, Catcher, Catchlon, Cacthlone, Catchlow, Catchlorie, Catchlore, Catchlobe, Catchlose, Catchlere, Catchlers, Catchton, Catchlson, Catcholoe, Catchlooe, Catchloue, Cacthlere, Catchshoue, Catehlove, Cathlove and Cathlone.* These are not variants, but simple errors in transcription and a simple comparison with the scanned original can soon establish whether or not it is actually Catchlove.

Name origin

*'A Dictionary of English Surnames'* by P.H. Reaney and R.M. Wilson states that the name Catchlove is derived from the Old Norman French *cachelove* or *cacheleu* meaning “chase wolf” or “wolf hunter” and that the earliest recorded examples are *Bernard Cachelu* in Oxfordshire in 1189 and *William Cacheluve* in Yorkshire in 1208. This is borne out by *'Surnames'*, by Ernest Weekley, M.A., published in 1919 - now out of copyright, but available online as a free Google book.

Historical occurrences of the name

Apart from the Norman *Cachelu(ve)* examples mentioned above, the earliest record we have is of a Cacchelove family who appear to have owned property in Winchester in the 13th century, recorded in the *'Survey of Medieval Winchester'*. The earliest record I have found so far with the spelling CATCHLOVE is William Catchlove of Hounston (Hunston), whose will was registered in 1561. A John Catchlove served as coachman to Queen Mary II during the 18th century, documented in the *'Calendar of Treasury Books Volume 16: 1700-1701'*. His records can now also be found in the Royal Household Establishment Lists and Royal Household Index Sheets on Findmypast. In 1836 Edward Catchlove sailed on the *Tam O'Shanter* bound for Australia with his wife (who died en route), a son and two daughters; the following year his son Henry sailed on the *Hooghly*. Edward & Henry are considered founding fathers of Adelaide, but their origins in England are obscure. Australian records give Edward's birthplace as Middlesex, but no record has yet been positively identified for him here, so we cannot say for certain which family he came from.

Name frequency

A search for Catchlove on *'The British Surnames & Surnames Profiles'* website comes back with a negative result, stating that the name is now a genuine rarity in the UK. The 1841 census showed only 38 Catchloves in the UK, though parish registers indicate a number in Middlesex who were not found on the census. It is estimated that in any given census some 5% of households were not recorded at all - this estimate increases to 5-10% for 1861. There were 44 Catchloves on census in 1851 & 1861, 55 in 1871, 71 in 1881, 54 in 1891, 63 in 1901 and 49 in 1911.

Distribution of the name

Although the rare Norman *Cachelu(ve)*records are from Oxfordshire and Yorkshire, records of Catchloves/Katchloves/Ketchoves from the 1720s onward show them to have been confined to a small cluster of villages spanning the border of Hampshire and West Sussex, with the exception of a few individuals from these five families who migrated to the capital in search of work. A notable exception to the Hampshire-Sussex distribution is what appears to be a single family living in Westminster during the 17th Century (most likely the family of John, the royal coachman); it is not yet clear whether these are related to the Hampshire-Sussex Catchloves. A number of individual Catchloves appear in the Middlesex parish records from the 1820s onwards, who were missed from the 1841 and all subsequent censuses. Some of these have been traced back to the original Hampshire-Sussex families, though several are still unaccounted for. A branch of one of the Sussex families moved to Liverpool in the 1860s and from there emigrated to Australia in the 1880s. Another branch of the same family moved to Northampton some time before the 1851 census, with subsequent generations spreading to Yorkshire and London. There are currently many more Catchloves in Australia than the UK, but I have yet to enumerate these. I suspect many also emigrated to the USA and have yet to investigate this.


Currently, I have searched the census records from 1841-1911, and the Births, Marriages & Deaths Index from Sept 1837 to 1920, as well as parish registers for 116 parishes in West Sussex (of which 31 have Catchloves or variants) and 9 parishes in Hampshire. In addition, I have a small collection of 'oddments', where Catchloves are found in various sources, such as indexes to military records, probate records and Poor Law records, though these are sparse. I also have a copy of the family trees for the descendants of the two Catchlove families known to have migrated to Australia (Edward & Henry in 1836/37 and George Catchlove in 1884), though these were donated by their descendants and I do not have access to the original data on which they were based. All data is published on my website.