Lofthouse Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Lofthouse Surname Meaning

The surname Lofthouse derives from one of a number of place names in Yorkshire, in present-day Cleveland, in Nedderdale in the Yorshire Dales, or near Wakefield in West Yorkshire. One suggested root for this word is lotht, meaning “upper floor” and hus or “house.” Another is the opposite, laughthus or “low house.”

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Lofthouse Surname Ancestry

England.  Victorian censuses showed that 60 percent of the Lofthouses lived in Yorkshire and 30 percent in Lancashire. Yorkshire still predominates. But Lofthouse is more thought of as a Lancashire name, perhaps because of the fame of the Bolton and England footballer Nat Lofthouse.

Yorkshire. In 1273 it was recorded that Robert Lofthouse, having established himself at Swineshead in north Yorkshire, was lord of the manor of Lofthouse. Edward Lofthouse was bailiff to the Abbot of Coverham. The family later shortened their name to Loftus. The village also became Loftus, although not officially until the 1890’s. The surname Lofthouse was then still to be found locally in the villages of Carlton Highdale and Skelton-in-Cleveland.

John Lofthouse of Bedale appeared in court records in 1450. A cluster of Lofthouses have been recorded at Grewelthorpe near Ripon from the 1720’s. In the late 1800’s Henry Lofthouse of Grewelthorpe made cream cheese from the product of nearby farms. It was said that he would set off in his light spring cart at four o’clock in the morning to Ripon to catch the first train for Leeds and London. Other Lofthouses were to be found at Dallowgill and Kirkby Malzeard, Catterton near Tadcastle, and Sinderby near Thirsk.

There was a Lofthouse colliery from the 1870’s at Lofthouse near
Wakefield. One hundred years later, it was the site of a fatal mining disaster.

Lancashire. A Lofthouse family dates from the 1780’s at Goosnargh near Preston. Lofthouses in the 19th century included:

  • James Lofthouse who was a pharmacist in Fleetwood who
    devised his Fisherman’s Friend lozenge in 1865 for the fishermen of the town.
  • another James Lofthouse, born in Clitheroe but from Yorkshire roots, who became a Mormon and set off for Salt Lake City in 1853.
  • and Joe Lofthouse who was a Blackburn footballer who played for England in 1885.

A later Blackburn resident was the local writer Jessica Lofthouse.

Nat Lofthouse, the Lion of Vienna, was born in Bolton in 1925, the son of the head horsekeeper of Bolton Corporation, someone who delivered coal with a horse and cart. His uncle Joshua Lofthouse emigrated to Australia.

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Lofthouse Surname Miscellany

John Lofthouse of Bedale.  In 1450 the court heard that John Lofthouse of Bedale had taken 20 beasts belonging to the lord of the manor and another 40 belonging to Thomas Rand of Crakehall and kept them in Bedale for two days and nights.

He admitted that he had taken six oxen of Thomas Rand’s that had been breaking down the hedges in the field in which they were kept, but he seems to have claimed that the other cattle had strayed onto his land and that he in fact had saved their owners money by feeding him with his own corn “to the loss of his own beasts.”  He clearly believed that attack was the best form of defence!

He disclaimed all responsibility for the straying of 160 sheep from Rand and the jury agreed that he was not to blame.  The case turned out to be a storm in a teacup.  John was merely put on good behavior for a year and two friends stood surety for him.

18th Century Lofthouse Admissions to the Freedom of York

1746 Frank Lofthouse silk weaver
1748 John Lofthouse vintner
1758 Richard Lofthouse cordwainer
John Lofthouse brewer and victualler
William Lofthouse vintner
John Lofthouse wine cooper

These Lofthouses seem to have had a preference for the wine trade!

Lofthouses from Dallowgill and Kirkby Malzeard.  There
are two Lofthouse families that have been traced to this area of the Yorkshire dales, one starting with George Lofthouse (born around 1680) and the other with Ralph Lofthouse (born around the same time).  Many of their descendants were buried in St. Andrew’s Church in Kirkby Malzeard.  The family farms, Knott farm and Ladyhill farm, are still standing.

There are descendants in Utah of these Lofthouses because of James Lofthouse who emigrated there in the 1850’s and founded the Mormon town of Paradise.

The Lofthouse Colliery Disaster.  On March 21 1973, miners at the Lofthouse colliery in West Yorkshire were working at a coal face which, unknown to them, was close to some 19th century mine workings that had become flooded.  There was a sudden rush of water and sludge into the mine.  Most of the miners fled to safety.  But it was discovered that seven were missing.

For six days strenuous and increasingly desperate efforts were made to reach them.  Eventually rescuers made it to the site of the accident.  They found a small air pocket.  But nobody was in
it.  Only one of the bodies was ever recovered.

Nat Lofthouse – The Lion of Vienna.  Nat Lofthouse’s finest hour in an England shirt came in May 1952 at the Prater Stadium in Vienna where he earned his nickname of “The Lion of Vienna.”

The Austrians were highly rated and regarded as one of the best teams in Europe.  What made it ever more demanding was the rough treatment he had to suffer from the tough-tackling Austrian defenders.  Twice Lofthouse was badly hurt and twice the Bolton player shook off the injuries to inspire his team to a famous 3-2 victory.

Midway through the first half Lofthouse opened the scoring with a tremendous left-footed drive from a short pass from Tottenham’s Eddie Baily.  Austria equalized soon after before Jackie Sewell of Sheffield Wednesday restored the lead.  Then with the score at 2-2 Baily was again the provider with a delicious through ball to Lofthouse who ran from just inside his own half to fire the winner past the advancing goalkeeper.

Lofthouse of Fleetwood.  Perhaps more than any other long-established Lancashire firm, Lofthouse of Fleetwood has managed to carve out a distinct market niche with a well-known product.

The company makes the famous Fisherman’s Friend lozenges.  It was founded in 1865 by James Lofthouse, a resident of Fleetwood, then a shipping port.  He was the port’s pharmacist and he created an extremely strong liquid containing menthol and eucalyptus which helped to clear the chests of rain-soaked fishermen. To make it easier to transport, this liquid was soon made into small lozenges.  For a hundred years, the lozenges were made by hand on a marble slab and packed by hand as well.

In 1971, the company expanded out of its cramped chemist’s quarters in Fleetwood into a larger site on Maritime Street.  It remains family-owned, run today by Tony and Doreen Lofthouse and their son Duncan.

Just Jessica.  The Blackburn reference library on Library Street was a solemn and sombre place.  The sun never shone there and no voice was ever raised above a whisper.  It had a monastic atmosphere and the librarians would act in a suitably reverential manner.

All this changed when Jessica Lofthouse appeared.  The door would fly open and she would be there: a magnificent presence in flamboyant colors, twice as large as life and life was pretty large in her case.  She was without a scrap of self-consciousness and proclaimed her requirements in a loud voice.

Jessica was a well-known writer of more than twenty books on the Lancashire countryside and its history. She died in 1988 leaving a bequest to provide seats in the countryside for walkers to rest their weary bones.

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Lofthouse Names
  • The Rev. Adam Loftus from Lofthouse in north Yorkshire became Archbishop of Dublin in 1567.
  • Seth Lofthouse from Leeds became a noted silversmith in London in the early 1700’s.
  • Nat Lofthouse was center forward for Bolton Wanderers and England in the 1950’s.
  • Doreen Lofthouse was instrumental in the 1970’s in turning the Fisherman’s Friend lozenge from Fleetwood into a global brand.
  • Geoff Lofthouse, once a miner and later an MP for Pontefract, was created Baron Lofthouse of Pontefract in 1997.
Lofthouse Numbers Today
  • 5,000 in the UK (most numerous in Yorkshire)

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