Origins of the Chitty name and family

Thanks to notes made by a Guildford attorney, Mr Symmes, in about 1670, before the first volume of the Godalming Parish Register was lost, we have the following record, apparently written into the marriage register many years later:

'1542 July 15 : Henry Chitty and Margaret Elliot were married, who had together Tenne children, and Henry Chitty dying 28 Dec 1558 his widdow was maryed 5 Nov 1559 to John Bradfold, by whom she had five children; she dyed in the year 1611 Oct 18 when she was a grandmother to a grandmother, and had seen yssueing from her loynes 244 children, and yet had one sonn never marryed, of the age of 57 yeares att the time of hir decease.' [As printed with the 1582-1686 Register this reads 'his' decease, which must surely be an error.]

It must have been that 57-year old bachelor, Dr Henry Chitty, who persuaded the Vicar to allow this memorandum to be inserted in the marriage register, and one would give a lot for Henry's own record of the family. The wording implies that all the 15 children except Henry married, but as the respective fathers Chitty and Bradfold name only nine and four children in their wills, we must assume that in fact one of each family died in infancy.
John Bradfold died in 1588. The 1565 list of delinquent cloth stretchers suggests that he moved into Broadgate, one of the Chitty homes, when he married the widow Margaret.

The nine children named in Henry the mercer's will included four sons, John, Richard, Thomas and Henry, and he provided that they were to be kept at school until they could read, write and cast accounts rightly, if they be found apt thereto.

Young Henry was certainly apt. We was admitted to Magdalen College, Oxford, as a Demy (a scholar allowed half the commons assigned to a fellow), proceeded B.A. 1577/8 Feb 1, was a Fellow from 1577 to 1612, M.A. 1581 Apr 5, B.Med. 1600 and D.Med. in the same year. In 1596 (March 2) he was allowed to defer disputation in medicine on account of his mother's illness and he presumably resigned his fellowship and settled in Godalming in 1612, living at Tanhouse. He died 1632 Feb 16, a practitioner in physicke, and left £10 and his books, except the English books concerning divinity, to Magdalen College. His principal heirs were Henry, Joseph and Jonas, the surviving sons of his deceased eldest brother John. Henry was to receive the house in which the doctor lived - Tanhouse - and also apparently received two closes which had been bought from the dead John, Walnut Tree and Maple Hatch. Jonas received 'Culmer' in Witley, then occupied by Joseph, and many other properties are named.

continued ...

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