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A Chatfield History and Genealogy

A Chatfield History and Genealogy

by Catherine Sevenau on January 27, 2011

Two Brothers and Friends

In the year 1639 the three Chatfield brothers—George, Thomas and Francis—migrated from Sussex County, England to what is today Guilford, Connecticut. Francis died unmarried in 1646, but George and Thomas lived to sire large families from whom most American Chatfields descended.

The Chatfield family is of Sussex origin and undoubtedly derived its name from Catsfield, a parish in southeastern Sussex County, one mile from the famous Battle Abbey, which was built on the spot where King Harold fell during the Battle of Hastings. The name of Chatfield, as we now pronounce it, was originally two words, composed of the word “field” meaning “meadow”, prefixed either by “Catt” meaning a wild cat or by the old English personal name Ceatta or Catta. Its literal meaning is therefore: “field of the wild cat”—or Ceatta’s field. From time to time the two words have been combined and changed, such as dropping the “e” in Ceatta and substituting “h”, making it Chatta Field. This took place about 1150, and we find in the early part of the 13th Century, as recorded in ancient English documents, the name is spelled Chattafylde; and later there is mention of a Solomon Chatfylde—one “t” and an “a” being deleted—moving to a “coast town” about 1215 or 1217. In other documents we find the name spelled several different ways: in 1215 it was Chatfyld; in 1262, Chatfelde: in 1320, Chatfeld; 1335, Chatfeilde; and in 1430, Chatfield, the spelling most frequently used in America as well as England.

Compiled and written by Henry E. Chatfield, Chatfield Family Publications, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1996