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.
WHERE DID THE NAME BEGIN?
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 EARLIEST CHURCH RECORDS - WINWICK IN CHESHIRE
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.
HOW THE NAME CHANGED - LATEWYSSE to LEWTAS
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
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
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
THE MOVE TO THE FYLDE
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..