The surname Littler derives from the corruption of Little Over, formerly a small hamlet in Cheshire, England and close by the River Weaver. The adjacent village of Over, and the larger town of Winsford have both expanded over the years and now encompass our former lands. Today the Littler heritage is kept alive by a street named Littler Lane, on which is to be found Littler House (a Victorian farmhouse) and Littler Grange (a Grade 2 listed Tudor farmhouse). The latter is now a nursery school.
During the 13th Century our family began to spread out from Little Over, with a well-documented branch settling north, at Wallerscote Manor. The old manor was located on the River Weaver, roughly equidistant between the townships of Weaverham and Northwich. Both Weaverham St Mary and Witton St Helen (Northwich) were used as places of worship for our family, and to a lesser extent nearby Davenham St Wilfrid. The parish of Tarvin also played a strong role in our family as it appears some of the younger sons of Wallerscote settled there during the 16th Century. The Littler name not only appears very early in the parish registers for Tarvin St Andrew, but they do appear to be wealthy landowners in the district.
The early history of the Littler family has been covered in some detail by George Ormerod (revised and enlarged upon by Thomas Helsby, 1875-82) in his wonderful History of the County Palatine and City of Chester. While some of the earlier pedigree in Ormerod is open to doubt, the final five generations are reasonably well documented. Wallerscote Manor, seat of the Littler family for ten generations, was sold to Hugh Cholmondeley in 1636, although a branch of our family did stay on as tenants into the eighteenth century.
Over the years I have endeavoured to link my pedigree back to the family who sold the manor—Ralph Littler the younger and Richard and William his sons. Difficulty does arise with Richard and William, as others of that name appear in the district in the same period as Ralph’s two sons. This is further exacerbated by the sale of Wallerscote occurring only six years before the onset of Civil War in England (1642) when parish records recording baptisms, burials and marriages become intermittent at best. Trying to find what became of the last of our family to own Wallerscote, and by extension trying to link present day pedigrees back to them, becomes difficult. With limited information available from parish registers it becomes necessary to use other methods in constructing suggested family groups—naming patterns, place of residence, occupation, wills, etc.
Under the tab PUZZLES I briefly discuss sons by the name Richard and William, born within a similar timeframe and within the same geographical area of Cheshire. I also take a look at the confusion caused by Thomas Littler of Cheshunt and Waltham Abbey.
Many sources have been used in writing my history of the Littler family in Cheshire. I have delved into parish records, marriage allegations, wills, records for the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and many other works of historical significance, whether on microfilm, CD, the internet or be it a written work. My own publication, Beyond Wallerscote Manor: The Littler Family of Cheshire, England, goes a long way in helping to establish pedigree lines from the time the old manor was sold through to more modern times.