The LEWTAS Families

APRIL  2024

Although in the 21st century the name LEWTAS is found across the world, evidence suggests it originated on the border of Lancashire and Cheshire where it is first recorded in 1324. Searches  show marked clustering of the name Lewtas/Latewyse and its variations in the Fylde up to the mid nineteenth century. Research shows that all present day Lewtas names can be traced back to this area of Lancashire.



The name seems to have originated in south Lancashire - near Culcheth - and first appears in a record of 1323. The early 14th century was a time of crisis and political turmoil in the north of England. In 1322 several leading Lancashire families and their followers seized the opportunity to settle old scores and violence and lawlessness erupted. A knight, William de Bradshaw, "gathered to himself a great host of armed men on horse and on foot and rode armed with his company through the country, sometimes to market towns and to county courts and to fairs and elsewhere in that county, against the king's peace and to the terror of the people." In 1323 Edward II visited Lancashire in an attempt 1212 AD that records thto restore order, holding special courts at Wigan. The records of shows that 'John son of John Latewys' was in the company brought to justice. Fifty years later another reference to the name was at Warrington in 1373/4 when a document in which Gilbert de Culchit (Culcheth) granted his land to various people was witnessed by Thomas Latewys among others. In another document of the same year Thomas Latwys is described as ‘his attorney’. The first definite mention of the village of Culcheth is found in a survey dated at Gilbert de Culcheth built the first Culcheth Hall in or around the year 1200.  Other early references to the name include Thomas Latwys who in 1373 was appointed to be his attorney by Gilbert de Culchit and nearly 2 centuries later in 1546 a Thomas Latewise was Vicar of St John's Chester.



The Winwick baptismal registers began in 1563. The registers list the baptism of two children of John Latwy(i)sse appear on September 13th 1564 and May 7th 1567. (Unfortunately the children's names are unreadable) . Wills can be valuable in providing details of families. The first will is that of Robert Latwise of Winwick proved in 1578. Next is that of William Latewise of Culcheth 1604. One of those preparing his inventory in 1608 was John Sterrope; this may have been William's future son-in-law - a John Sterrope married an Anne Latewise in September 1613.





Lewtas or Latus is a shortened form of the name Latewysse, and similar spellings. The earliest references to the more modern form 'Lewtas' are found in wills which also bear the name Latewise or even Latehouse. These names - said with a Lancashire accent and abbreviated - soon come to sound like Layt'us and Lewtas, and, in a time when spelling was quite free, they could be written in a variety of ways and still sound the same. Few people could read or write even their own name and that together with the style of handwriting - with the letters a and e, i, and u appearing similar in form - led to several versions of the name developing across the Fylde

Matthew Letus buried in Goosnargh on December 11th 1624 is recorded as being the son of William Leatwyse; the inventory of George Lewtas of Out Rawcliffe, buried on June 22nd 1675 in Stalmine registers names the deceased as ''George Latehouse' John Lewty's will has Lewtas on the outside and Lewty on the inventory heading. The IGI shows several LEWKAS families - this may be an alternative for LUCAS or a misspelling of LEWTAS - it is only 1 letter out. However the variations Latwys(s)e is found in the earliest documents researched.

The Hearth Tax returns of 1663 and 1673 give even more variations on the spelling: Ralph Laytus in Myerscough; Edmund Leuty & John Leuty in Lea; Ralph Lattuss in Inskip with Sowerby; Andrew Leutuss in Weeton with Preese - Andrew Lewty of Plumpton in the parish of Kirkham married Jennnet Warbreck of Mythop in St Chad's on January 11th 1687/8. The Hearth Tax returns and wills also serve to illustrate the geographical spread of the name throughout the Fylde and beyond. Leonard Leutie in Plumpton Magna; Thos Luty in Higher end of Whittingham; Jo Leutie in Greenhalgh with Clifton; Ellen Latus widow in Wood Plumpton.

Other spellings found in Fylde registers are Lewtes, Lewtis, Leautis, Lattwys and Latos. The families appear all round the Fylde - Plumpton, Cockerham, Singleton Magna & Parva, Bispham & Norbreck, Westby with Plumpton, Garstang, Out Rawcliffe, Great Eccleston, Hambleton, Inskip, Lea and St Michael's.     By the early 18th century the various spellings which had arisen over the centuries may have been used specifically to differentiate between different branches of the family


























A rough survey of the place of residence named in the parish registers of the Fylde area in which instances of the name appear suggest that the families were firstly in Goosnargh, Plumpton, Wood Plumpton, Kirkham, Inskip, Lea and Eaves in the late 1500s and early 1600s onwards.


They appear to have spread into Garstang, Poulton, Out Rawcliffe and St Michaels by the mid to late 1600s and to Freckleton, Hambleton, Stalmine by the mid 1700s. Liverpool had attracted them from the 1700s and Manchester from the 1800s..  


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Newchurch Culcheth

St Oswald Winwick