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About the study

The study of the name Twitchett and its various variant spellings is on ongoing delight; frustrating at times but oh, the joy of breaking through those inevitable brick walls!

Findings are published in our periodic newsletter, 'Fathers Footsteps'.

The majority of Twitchetts, wherever their immediate and recent generations are located, will trace back to the Essex/Suffolk border country. To date we have traced the East London lines back to Braintree, Essex in the 1690's;the South London, Blackpool and Durham lines back to Shimpling in the 1660's via Clare and Cavendish in Suffolk and Ashen in Essex; the Yorkshire lines back to Thetford. One young Twitchett of Yorkshire descent was orphaned at an early age and sent out to Canada so we have Canadian cousins as well. The South London lines also have many Antipodean relatives following the transportation of Joseph Twitchett to Tasmania in 1838 for sheep stealing. Joseph was my great great grandfather and it was when I was researching his death so far away from home that I found the connection linking the majority of Suffolk/Essex Twitchetts!

Variant names

Variant spellings are Twychet and others which are fairly obvious due to the omission of one or more 'T's. Another variation is Twitchit. Twitchell is not thought to be a derivative but rather (when linked to Twitchett members) the result of clerical error when compiling official forms!

Name origin

There are some who still think it to be Saxon but the majority view is that we arrived along with the Conqueror's troops in 1066. Recent research has revealed very strong links to the de Touchet family of Notre Dame de Touchet in Normandy. Descendants acquired vast holdings both in the North of England and in East Anglia. The dual use of Twichet and Touchet is well documented and investigations are ongoing!

Historical occurrences of the name

Two young Twitchetts from the East London line served on HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar as powder monkeys.

Archdeacon Cyril Twitchett, Chaplain to King George VI.

Professor Denis Crispin Twitchett (1925 - 2006), British Sinologist specializing in Chinese History.

My afore-mentioned ancestor, Joseph, survived a gruelling voyage to Tasmania as a Transportee on the barque 'Lord William Bentinck'. Perhaps this should come under the heading of 'Infamous' but I include it here to give an insight into the social climate of the day. His family was hungry and he stole two lambs to feed them! His wife and two younger sons were 'assisted' to join him in Tasmania by the Parish Council of the day. It was obviously more economic to pay their fare than to give long-term parish relief!


General Register Office All Twitchett entries for Births, Marriages and Deaths since 1837 have been recorded.

London Parish Registers Extensive entries for Twitchett from c 1600.

Pedigrees Various pedigrees submitted by other Twitchett researchers have been consolidated into one data base from which extracts can be made.

Parish Records Extensive entries for Twitchett from c 1580

Data is available on application to me via the links below.