Fettiplace Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Fettiplace Surname Meaning

The surname Fettiplace probably comes from the old French faites place, meaning “‘make room,” a shout given by bodyguards of the French Kings and nobility.  Current spellings are Fetterplace in England and Phetteplace in America.

Fettiplace Surname Resources on The Internet

Fettiplace Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Oxford)
  • to America

England.  The Fettiplaces are said to have first arrived in England with William the Conqueror.  The first notable recorded family member was Adam Fettiplace who was Mayor of Oxford for eleven terms between 1245 and 1268.  His family’s estate was North Denchworth in Berkshire.

The Fettiplaces became prominent at court.  Family members were knighted during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII.  During the latter’s reign, Sir Thomas Fettiplace of Compton Beauchamp in Berkshire accompanied the King to the Field of the Cloth of Gold to meet the French King in 1520.  Another Fettiplace was part of the entourage that escorted Anne of Cleves to England.   John Fettiplace of Besselsleigh was an MP in the 1550’s.

Most of the family supported King Charles in the English Civil War and suffered as a result.  The main branch of the family then died out in the early 18th century.  Still, there remain the monuments to them at Swinbrook church in Oxfordshire.

One commentary on their contribution ran as follows: “It has sometimes been said of the Fettiplaces that they never distinguished themselves in the field, the forum, or the senate, but, notwithstanding this, the family constituted a kaleidoscopic and very interesting group of individuals.  They illustrated the best traditions of the life lived by English country gentlemen and, residing as they did on their hereditary estates, the villages and neighborhoods around them long felt the resulting benefits.”

America.  The US Phetteplace spelling was originally a misspelling – dating back to the time of Phillip Fettiplace arriving in Rhode Island around 1680.

According to Rhode Island records, fifteen members of the Phetteplace family were enrolled for service in the Revolutionary War.  Many Phetteplaces later headed west to Wisconsin.  Edward Phetteplace’s 1983 book Genealogies of the Phetteplace Family has traced the lineage.

Fettiplace Surname Miscellany

Early Fettiplaces.  The earliest authentic record of the name was about the year 1215 when Adam Fettiplace was found to be the Mayor of Oxford and a prosperous citizen.  But it is possible that the following extract from the Charter Roll of 1245 may take us one step back in the family pedigree:

“Grant to Walter de Gray, son of Robert de Gray, nephew of W. York of the following gifts – of the gifts of Walter, son of Thomas Feteplace.”  Hence it is conceivable that this last named Thomas may have been the father of both Walter and of Adam Fettiplace the Mayor of Oxford.

Reader Feedback – Fettiplace to Pettyplace.  My family’s surname is Pettyplace.  After research it seems we are descendants of the Fettiplace family. Most of us have settled and live in Michigan.

David Pettyplace (dpettyplace@yahoo.com)

Fettiplace Names

  • Adam Fettiplace was a prominent civic leader of Oxford in the mid 13th century.
  • Sir Thomas Fettiplace was an English courtier at the time of Henry VIII.

Fettiplace Numbers Today

  • 100 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 200 in America (most numerous in Wisconsin)

Fettiplace and Like Surnames

These are surnames which have a small number of people bearing that name but are included here – for the curiosity of the name, its history, or because of some famous person who bears that name.




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Written by Colin Shelley

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