This surname of LYTH was derived from the Old English word LIOE, a nickname for one who was mild and gentle. The name is also spelt LYTH and LYDE. Chaucer (circa. 1345-1400) the English poet, wrote of the name,
"To maken LITHE that erst was hard".
Early records of the name mention Robert de LITHA, who was recorded in 1214 in County Yorkshire, and Adam atte LYTHE was documented in 1275 in County Worcestershire. Gonnilla de LYTHE of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. Later instances include a certain John LYTHE, who was buried at St. Dionis, Backchurch, London in the year 1540. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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