A Brief History

About the name Littler

 

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.