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About the study

Probably all TITTERTONs descend from a group of people called TYDRYNGTON who lived in, or near the village of Alstonefield, North Staffordshire, England, between 1400 and 1500. The surname does have a single point origin. The Titterton One Name Study is trying to connect all TITTERTONs together onto one (very) big family tree. It will never achieve that. A lot of information is irretrievably lost. However about 20 to 25 different main families have been identified.
Today TITTERTON families live all around the world and not just in the UK. There are branches in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Go to The Titterton Family Web Site for more details about the many families

Name origin

The earliest Tittertons come from a township/hamlet called Narrowdale in the parish of Alstonfield which is in the North Staffordshire moorlands. The surname only settled in this form around 1600. Versions in the 1500s are Teturton and Tyterton but most early references in the 1500's are clearly variants on the form de TYDRYNGTON, (Tydrington Tydrinton or something like these). There was no standard spelling. The earliest reference there is to a William de Tydrinton who trampled down some grass about 1399. At sometime prior to 1400 someone, either one person or more, moved to Narrowdale from a manor called TYDRYNGTON. Today this is known as Titherington and is a golf couse on the outskirts of Macclesfield, Cheshire. TYDRYNGTON could mean the place of the settlement of Tydre's people but also it could mean something to do with pig styes. If there was a TYDRE was he from a marauding Welsh tribe that today we would call 'Tudor'?

Historical occurrences of the name

Tittertons started out as farmers and for some families it was a career followed by successive generations and at the same farm. The original family farmed at Narrowdale, Alstonfield, for probably 350 years (1350-1730). Nearby they were farming in Grindon from the 1580's, took on Deepdale Farm there in the late 1600's and were there until the 1860's. There are still Tittertons farming in the North Staffordshire area.
Early trades were country based, such as John Titterton d.1699, a Joiner from Grindon. In his will he left two trees in John Johnson's wood. This must have been a source for his raw material. Others were a spin off from farming activities. Joshua, a son from Apesfrod Farm, Leek, was living at Reddish near Stockport in 1881. He was a cowkeeper but his sons living with him, were butchers. This was the start of a butchery which became a butcher's chain still to be found in the Stockport area. Likewise the Titterton Cheesemakers of Bermondsy 1750 - 1850 came from farmers at Wirksworth Derbyshire.
Ashbourne was the closest town to Alstonfield and several trades were run by Tittertons from there by members of one large family. William Titterton, junior had a shoeshop and died as a relatively young man (?30s). With his will, 1642, is an inventory which includes the contents of his shop and workshop. Shoe sizes were well established even then. There one can see that shoe sizes for adults were already standard and how many pairs of each he had in stock. His brothers and nephews (he had no children) between them carried on his business and also provided the town and surrounding countryside with a draper, glover and Currier.
The Titterton that used Tarratt as a Christian name seemed to operate between Cheadle and Burton-on-Trent before moving onto Birmingham. There seems to be some connection with the Worthington brewers of Burton and the link might be through the Tarratt family. While one brother was in Burton the other set up as a Cooper at Cheadle. Eventually the family was drawn to Birmingham where they became varnish makers. Although the second John Tarratt Titterton must have prospered in the Industrial Revolution, one wonders if it contributed to his early death at the age of 37 and that of his son William aged 29. Another Birmingham family made safes, see illustration for safe plate.
Those who moved to London were involved in a variety of businesses. Earliest there were two Goldsmiths in the late 1600s. A family of coachmakers prospered well from the late 1700s until the advent of the steam train in the 1840s. Other 19th century London traders include brush makers, sign writers and painters, and legal stationers.
In the 20th century the Titterton family cover the full spectrum of trades and professions. The two most famous 'sons' have been Frank Titterton, the operatic singer and Sir Ernest Titterton the nuclear physicist. Frank was the son of the Birmingham industrialist. Sir Ernest was a member of the Tamworth family but emigrated to Australia when the A bomb tests were being carried out.

Distribution of the name

Many branches of the Titterton family have been traced back for several generations. The tendency is for the origin of the family to be from the Staffordshire/Derbyshire area. Fortunately the surname distribution lends itself to a statistical analysis of its origin. If a surname has a point origin then over the generations members are going to move away from the origin and set up their own family centres. The spread of the surname will expand with time. If one assumes that there are no social or geographical barriers to prevent or encourage the distribution in any direction from the point source, then analysing the data at a particular point in time, the point source can be calculated. This is where the surname started.
The distribution is plotted on a map and a circle is drawn which encompasses half the distribution within it and half outside it. The position is this circle is adjusted so that the ratio of half and half is maintained while reducing the radius to a minimum value. The theoretical point origin of the Titterton family is the centre of the circle with the smallest radius.

This was done for a number of sources of data. The results for the BT telephone subscribers in the 1972/3 telephone directories shows that, in 1973, half the Tittertons in the UK with telephones lived within 32 miles of Parwich, (point B on the map below), a Derbyshire village 4 miles from Alstonfield. The analysis was repeated for the data in the 1988 IGI microfiche which had an average date of 1801. The centre of the Titterton distribution from the IGI was at Ellastone, Staffs, (point A on the map below), 9 miles from Alstonfield. Both results very close to Alstonefield which has the documentary sources pre1550.

ttn circles jpg

For detailed information about the places were Tittertons have lived and the families go to The Titterton Family Web Site


Over many years I have collected references to Titterton Births, Marriages and Deaths in the UK and from many Census returns. I also have most Titterton wills pre 1850.