Origins of the Chitty name and family


The leading CHITTY family in Godalming during the 16th and 17th centuries was undoubtedly that distinguished as CHITTY alias BOCHER, an identification which has been found from 1531 to 1629.

As some of the Godalming CHITTYs were described as butchers from 1441 to 1505 it is likely that the alias in this case refers to their occupation - though in 1484 there is a reference to John BOCHER senior and junior, so that there is a possibility that there was another family of that name and that these CHITTYs either acquired their land or intermarried with them.

It is also at present impossible to be certain of the ancestry of that John CHITTY alias BOCHER who died in 1546. But a reconstruction that fits the known facts would be that Robert the butcher named in 1505 (possibly also in 1484, though that might be the previous generation) was the same as Robert of Farncombe (named 1503) and was brother of John of Farncombe whose will was proved 1487. This John named sons John and Thomas and appointed a Robert CHITTY as an executor. If this Robert was an eldest son, and so brother of John and Thomas, then he could be the Robert alias BOCHER who joined with John CHITTY and others in a 1531 suit against Arnold MELLERSHE regarding over 300 acres of land in and around Godalming; and his brother John could be the John CHITTY alias BOCHER whose will was proved 1546 and who is the ancestor of many later CHITTYs.
Whatever his ancestry, this John was a man of considerable property. By his will - proved in the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, rather for additional authority or from motives of snobbery than because his property was partly outside the jurisdiction of the Surrey Commissary and Archdeaconry Courts - he bequeathed property including 'Gaylandes now Cheties' - apparently the former holding of Thomas GRAYLAND who died 1485, for which John paid quitrent in 1542, later known as The Square - Townend property held by exchange with Mr Westricke - probably Tanhouse on the north side of High Street, later described as held of Westbrook Manor - the lease from Mr Erneley, and land at Oldlands, Hile End, Smallhache, Watershaw and a Clift by the Heath.

There is also in the Surrey Record Society publications a reference to Surrey Feet of Fines in 1530/1 in which John Westbroke and John Chitty sued George and Anne Adderson regarding seventy acres of land in Godalming, which may be connected with the acquiring of 'The Square'.

John left two daughters, one married to John Daborne of Guildford, clothier, and three sons, Henry, mercer, Robert, clothier, and John.

continued ...

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Page created 29 Sept 2001 by Mike Chitty; text written 1975 by the late Erik Chitty