The Latimer Family

The Latimer family name, has its origins tracing back to the Old French term “latinier,” denoting a clerk or a scribe who was proficient in Latin, the lingua franca of medieval Europe’s educated elite. The surname was introduced into England following the Norman Conquest of 1066, a period that saw a significant cultural and linguistic shift in the British Isles. The Latimer’s were associated with the role of interpreters or translators, a vital position during a time when Latin was the primary language for official documents and ecclesiastical matters.

Within the rugged landscape of Moors and hills called Wales, the ancient name Latimer was developed. At one time, this surname was the profession for someone who was “a speaker of Latin, that being the vehicle of all records or transcript. Latin, for centuries, was the common ground on which all European ecclesiastics met. Thus, it became looked upon as the language of interpretation.” Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3

“This surname is said to have been adopted from the tenure of certain lands, which required the possessor thereof to act as “latimer,” or interpreter. In English history it occupies a prominent place, and has been borne at various times by the most distinguished warriors.” Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.

The surname Latimer was first found in Breconshire (Welsh: Sir Frycheiniog), a traditional county in southern Wales, which takes its name from the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog (5th-10th centuries.)

Four barons are mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086: “David interpres, who held Dorset; Hugo latinarius who held Hants and Somerset; Ralph Latimarus, who held Essex; and Lewis Latinarius, who held Herefordshire. Ralph was Secretary to the Conqueror and from him derived William de Latimer, who in 1165 held a knight’s fee of Vesci in Yorkshire.” Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3

“In the reign of Henry III. Flourished William de Latimer, a crusader under Prince Edward, and a gallant soldier in the French wars; and under Edward III., William, Lord Latimer, his great-grandson, a warrior of great renown, celebrated for a victory achieved over Charles of Blois, at the siege of Doveroy, where, with only 1600 men, English and Bretons, he encountered that Prince, who had come to the relief of the place at the head of 3,600 men; and defeated and slew him, besides nearly a thousand knights and esquires; taking prisoners also, two earls, twenty-seven lords, and fifteen hundred men-at-arms.” Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.

Glaisdale in the North Riding of Yorkshire “was the property of Robert de Brus, lord of Skelton, and, with the rest of the parish of Danby, descended to the Thwengs, and afterwards to the Latimer’s, lords of Danby; it is now divided into many freeholds.” William Latimer was gifted Iselhempstead Latimer in Buckinghamshire from the estate of Simon Beresford.

Over the centuries, the Latimer name has been linked to various regions within the UK, including Breconshire in Wales, where the family’s presence is documented from early times. The Latimer’s were not merely scribes; they were also landholders and influential figures in society. Historical records from the Domesday Book of 1086 mention several individuals with roles akin to that of the Latimer, highlighting the importance of their duties in the Norman administration.

The family’s legacy is particularly prominent in Yorkshire, where William de Latimer held a knight’s fee of Vesci during the 12th century. His descendants continued to play significant roles in the military and political spheres, with members of the family participating in the Crusades and serving as trusted advisors to the monarchy. The Latimer’s martial prowess was exemplified by William, Lord Latimer, who achieved renown during the reign of Edward III for his military victories, including a notable triumph at the siege of Doveroy.

In addition to their martial achievements, the Latimer’s were also patrons of the arts and architecture, contributing to the cultural enrichment of their domains. Their estates, such as those in Buckinghamshire, became centres of patronage and learning, reflecting the family’s commitment to the intellectual and spiritual life of the nation.

The Latimer surname has evolved, with various spellings and branches emerging as the family spread across England and beyond. Census records from the 19th century indicate a significant presence of Latimer families in Lancashire, suggesting a migration and establishment of roots in that region. The occupations of Latimer’s have diversified over the years, with the 1939 census revealing roles ranging from general labourers to unpaid domestic duties, indicating the family’s integration into various facets of society.

Today, the Latimer name continues to be associated with a rich heritage, one that encompasses the scholarly pursuits of medieval clerks to the valorous deeds of knights. It is a name that carries with it the weight of history and the legacy of a family that has contributed to the shaping of British society through the ages. The Latimer family’s story is a tapestry of linguistic heritage, military valour, cultural patronage, and societal evolution, reflecting the dynamic narrative of Britain itself. The Latimer’s historical significance and their enduring presence in the annals of British history make them a fascinating subject for those interested in genealogy and the storied past of the United Kingdom.

Famous Latimer’s

The Latimer family, with its deep roots in Yorkshire, has left a significant mark on the region’s historical and religious landscape. Their influence is evident in the valorous deeds and spiritual commitments that have shaped the county’s narrative. The Latimer’s heroism is encapsulated in the tales of their ancestors, such as Sir John Neville, the 4th Baron Latimer, who was born in Hambleton, Yorkshire. His life and actions during tumultuous times, including the Pilgrimage of Grace, a popular uprising against Henry VIII’s religious reforms, reflect the family’s involvement in critical historical events.

Religiously, the Latimer’s were closely associated with the church of St Michael and All Angels in Well, Yorkshire, which served as the family’s spiritual home. This church was a symbol of their religious devotion and their role in the community. Katherine Parr, who became Lady Latimer through marriage, is a notable figure who lived at Snape Castle in Yorkshire. Her religious views, which evolved significantly over her lifetime, were influenced by the Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries, events that would have had a profound impact on the Latimer’s and their religious practices. Snape Castle housed its own Chapel of St Mary, which Catherine used, along with the church at Well.

Hugh Latimer, another prominent member of the family, became a leading figure in the English Reformation. His fervent advocacy for Protestantism and his eventual martyrdom for his beliefs underscore the Latimer’s significant religious influence. His sermons and actions contributed to the spread of Protestant ideas and the shaping of English religious thought during a pivotal period in history.

The Latimer’s contributions to Yorkshire’s heritage are not limited to their heroic and religious endeavours. They were also patrons of the arts and architecture, leaving behind physical testaments to their influence. Their legacy in Yorkshire is a tapestry of martial valour, spiritual dedication, and cultural patronage, reflecting the multifaceted nature of their impact on the region.

In the realm of academics and literature, figures like Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer, an American writer from the 19th century, and Jon Latimer, a Welsh historian and writer, have made substantial contributions to their respective fields. Wendell Mitchell Latimer, an American chemist, is recognized for his scientific endeavours, while William Latimer, an English clergyman and scholar, was known for his expertise in Ancient Greek.

The arts have seen the likes of Andrew Latimer, an English rock musician, and Ivy Latimer, an Australian actor, gracing the stage and screen with their talents. The magic world celebrates Jason Latimer, an American magician known for his captivating performances. Military history remembers individuals like Dennis Latimer, a British World War I flying ace, and Joseph W. Latimer, a Confederate officer from Virginia.

In the political arena, the Latimer name has been associated with figures such as Asbury Latimer, a U.S. Senator from South Carolina, and George Latimer, who has served as mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, and as a New York State Senator. The sports field boasts of personalities like Cody Latimer, an American football player, and Tanerau Latimer, a New Zealand rugby union footballer.

These individuals, along with many others bearing the Latimer surname, have left indelible marks on the tapestry of history, showcasing the diverse paths of influence and accomplishment that one family name can represent. The legacy of the Latimer name continues to inspire and remind us of the profound impact that dedicated and talented individuals can have across generations and disciplines. Whether through the written word, scientific discovery, artistic expression, valiant service, or athletic prowess, the Latimer’s have etched their name into the annals of history, offering a rich narrative of human achievement and the enduring power of legacy.

The Latimer’s in Yorkshire

The ancestral home of the Latimer family in Yorkshire is Snape Castle, located near Bedale. This historic castle has a rich tapestry of stories and was notably the residence of Katherine Parr before she became the sixth wife of Henry VIII. Originally, one of the great Neville strongholds, built in the 15th century, Snape Castle commands a significant area of the surrounding countryside. It’s a place steeped in history, not just as a noble residence but also as a witness to pivotal events such as the Pilgrimage of Grace, a significant rebellion during the Tudor period. The castle’s chapel, St Michael and All Angels in Well, less than three miles away, was patronized by Katherine Parr and the Neville family, adding to the site’s historical significance.

The family’s influence peaked during the Tudor period, particularly through the actions of Katherine Parr, who became Lady Latimer upon her marriage to John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer, in 1534. Their residence, Snape Castle, became a focal point of regional power and played a pivotal role during the tumultuous times of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, a major rebellion against King Henry VIII’s policies. Katherine’s presence at Snape Castle and her subsequent marriage to Henry VIII after Lord Latimer’s death further cemented the family’s status and influence in Yorkshire.

The family’s influence waned after the death of John Neville, but their legacy in Yorkshire, marked by their residences and patronage, endures as a significant chapter in the county’s rich tapestry of history. Their story is intertwined with the broader narrative of the English Reformation and the shifting allegiances and fortunes of the nobility during this transformative period in English history. The Latimer family’s contributions to Yorkshire’s heritage are still recognized today, with Snape Castle and the associated church of St Michael and All Angels serving as historical landmarks that continue to draw interest and research, shedding light on the family’s once prominent role in the region’s past.

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    The Latimer family name, has its origins tracing back to the Old French term “latinier,” denoting a clerk or a scribe who was proficient in Latin, the lingua franca of medieval Europe’s educated elite.

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