1489 - John Littell of Ashburton
|Topic||John Littell and John Wreyfforde hand in amount collected on All Souls' Eve.|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2015-08-25. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-08.
22d. at the hands of John Littell & John Wreyfforde collected on Souls' Eve.
This entry figures in the accounts for 1489-90 under the heading "Gifts, rents, etc." The words in italics are Hanham's translation from Latin.
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. 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 1487-88. 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.
- Not included in Sussex, Lucy, compil. 'References to Robin Hood up to 1600', in: Knight, Stephen. Robin Hood: A Complete Study of the English Outlaw (Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1994), pp. 262-88.
- Hanham, Alison, ed. Churchwardens' Accounts of Ashburton, 1479-1580 edited with an introduction by Alison Hanham (Devon and Cornwall Record Society, New series, vol. 15) (Torquay, 1970), p. 11.
- 1487 - John Lyttell of Ashburton
- 1555 - John Littlejohn of Ashburton
- 1557 - John Litle John of Ashburton
- Ashburton festivals
- Hanham, Alison, ed. Churchwardens' Accounts of Ashburton, 1479-1580 edited with an introduction by Alison Hanham (Devon and Cornwall Record Society, New series, vol. 15) (Torquay, 1970), p. 14.
- Reaney, P.H., compil.; Wilson, Richard Middlewood, compil. A Dictionary of British Surnames (London, 1976), s.n. 'Littlejohn'.