Chitty of London:
a family history
by the late Erik Chitty, M.A., Cantab.,
Fellow of the Society of Genealogists

The arms of CHITTY are: 'Gules, a chevron ermine, in chief three talbot's heads erased, or,' and the Crest: 'A talbot's head couped or'; and the only CHITTYs now entitled to bear these arms descend from Josiah CHITTY, citizen of London and Liveryman of the Brewers' Company, who lived 1658 to about 1714.

Because these arms were first recognised by the College of Arms when Sir Thomas, Lord Mayor of London in 1759/60 and knighted 1759 June 3, satisfied the Heralds that they had been borne by his family for 'several generations', though hitherto unregistered, the family is often described as 'CHITTTY of London', although its origins are at Godalming in Surrey.

Whether or not the Rev. W. W. Capes in his 'Scenes of Rural Life in Hampshire among the Manors of Bramshott' (1901) was right in suggesting that the family name might derive from the ancient manor of Chiltley in Liphook, it is certain that the name had reached Godalming - about twelve miles away - by 1371, when Thomas CHETEYE and Alice his wife acquired land in Eashing which had much earlier been held by one Thomas COKKEL, probably Alice's maternal grandfather.

In the following two centuries, the CHITTYs of Godalming became so numerous that it was necessary to distinguish them by aliases - CHITTY alias COKLYS (who retained that early holding), CHITTY alias SEARLE or SELL, CHITTY alias WEVER, and CHITTY alias BOCHER.

It was the last-named branch which had become most successful by the 16th century. John CHITTY alias BOCHER who died in 1546 left three sons, - Henry, a mercer who married into the local county family of ELLIOTT, - Robert, a clothier, and John who migrated to Arundel. All three left children, but only Henry detailed his in his Will. Some of his descendants down to the early 19th century are known.

It is only a guess - though a strong one - that Robert the clothier who died 1567/8 was the father of Matthew, also a clothier: the undoubted ancestor of 'CHITTY of London'.

Unhappily, the early Godalming Parish Register prior to 1582 has been lost. When the extant Register begins, we find Matthew as one of the many CHITTYs having children baptised.

continued ...

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Page created 29 Sept 2001 by Mike Chitty, based on the late Erik Chitty's 1975 text