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1487 - John Lyttell of Ashburton

Record
Date 1487/88
Topic John Lyttell paid for work
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Ashburton.
Ashburton street view. West Street / Mike Crowe, Wikimedia Commons.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2015-08-25. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-10-18.

Record

[1487:]
John Lyttell for work—4d.[1]

Source notes

This entry figures in the accounts for 1487-88 under the heading "Costs & Expenses". The words in italics are Hanham's translation from Latin.

IRHB comments

Men named John Little (or Parvus or Petit) are found in the records too often to be of much interest unless they have something else in common with Robin Hood's sidekick such as for instance being 'career criminals'. There is no indication this John Little was other than a law-abiding citizen. Yet what is at least a little bit interesting about him is the fact that a man surnamed Littlejohn appears (not quite 70 years) later in the Ashburton churchwardens' accounts (see Cross-references below). Ashburton was (and is) a small town; was John Littlejohn a descendant of John Little? There is at least one considerably earlier example of a John Little appearing at a locality years before a person surnamed Littlejohn.[2] Although two examples are hardly enough to build a hypothesis on, it does seem likely that Littlejohn arose as a surname for people whose father was named John Little. John Little of Ashburton is also mentioned in the accounts for 1489-90. There were Robin Hood-related entertainments of some sort at Ashburton (see Cross-references below), but there is no reason to think that John Littlejohn owed his name to playing Little John in these.

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