(member 1878)

Withell from Yorkshire

Although a large number of present day Withells are descended from the Yorkshire family of William and Rhoda Withell, occurrences with the spelling as Withell or close variants appear to be rare in early records for Yorkshire. Even taking spelling variations into account, I have currently been unable to link William with any of these earlier records.

It is suggested that the early history of the surname in Yorkshire had its beginnings in the Northowran and Hipperholme area, north of Huddersfield. The name derived from a locality - Whit(e)hill or Whit(e)well - which may have been Ovenden White Hill or a settlement name now lost. There were links with the nearby villages of Elland and Rastrick from at least the 13th century and the occurrence in the parish records of Elland, Kirkheaton, Rastrick, Walkington and Grinton also support this theory. Although the spelling Withell occurs occasionally in Elland Parish Register, the more common spelling has the initial ‘wh’ as in Whitell. One branch of the family achieved gentry status in the 1600s, Whittell Place being named after them. By the 17th century the surname spelled as Whittell had become established in Kirkheaton parish.

George Redmond lists the following

Variations with similar spelling were found across a wide area of Yorkshire as shown by records of the Yorkshire Poll of 1379, transcribed by Caroline Fenwicke.

Other early occurrences in East Yorkshire so far found include:-

By the middle of the 18th century a few records of Withell / Withill / Withel appeared in parishes near Bulmer and Slingsby. There is a village Whitwell on the Hill in this area and some references have also been found in the area near Campsall. At the same time a small number of apparently unconnected Withell, Whittell, Whittle and Whithell families were to be found in the registers of parishes in the vicinity of Goodmanham.

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