My Hewitt Connections

My Hewitt Connections

By Michael W. Caughey

My great grandmother Agnes Hewitt married Matthew James Caughey on 28 January 1876 at Ekenhead Presbyterian Church, North Queen Street, Belfast. The church was demolished a number of years ago. They had ten children and lived at 45 Lepper Street and 34 Warkworth Street, Belfast. Their marriage witnesses were Henry Holden and Henrietta Patience. Agnes's father Samuel Hewitt was a Nailer. She was still alive at 1901 Census.

I would like to hear from anybody who knew of this family. Samuel Hewitt is my 2nd great grandfather.


An English name, being a diminutive of Hugh gaelicized as 'Huighead'. Though now regarded as of Ulster, practically all the early references to it, beginning in 1295, are to families in Munster or the city of Dublin.
(Source 'The Surnames of Ireland').

Virtually all the early references to this name in Ireland, from the late thirteenth century on, place it in Dublin and Munster. The name is still found in these areas but only in Ulster is it common.
There are two derivations of the name. In England it can be either local, from residence in a 'clearing', Old English 'hiewett', or a diminutive of Hugh. In Scotland, where it was common in Berkwickshire, it is a pet form of Hugh, from Hew, a Scottish form of the name, with the French diminutive suffix -et.
In Ulster the name is most common in counties Antrim and Armagh. The poet John Hewitt, 1907-87 was born in Belfast.
(Source 'The Book of Ulster Surnames').

This is, of course, a well known English name: it is derived from a diminutive of the Christian name Hugh. In Ireland it is now generally regarded as belonging to Ulster, perhaps owing to its prominence in the athletics of that province and possibly from the fact that it is the surname of the Viscounts Lifford.
Modern statistics, too, indicate that the name is now found predominantly in Ulster. It is therefore interesting to find that, though there are some Hewitts in the Ulster Hearth Money Rolls of the 1660's and Humphery Hewitt was then a officer in the Tyrone militia, early references to the name all relate to Munster from 1295 when John Heued, late "sargeant of the king", and his wife Alice weere found not quilty of fraud and larceny.
There is not one Ulster Hewitt among the eleven who appear in the list of Prerogative wills - they are practically all Cork and Dublin. Diocesan wills record seven between 1652 and 1795 in the diocese of Cork and Ross, one in Cloyne and two in Cashel.
Similarly the register of Dublin Univerisity students have eleven Hewitts or Hewetts mostly from Co. Cork, none from Ulster. In the "census' of 1659 there are two tituladoes called Hewett both in Munster. From 1522 they begin to appear in Co. Dublin and the 1598 "Description of Ireland" includes Hewitt of Garriston among the "men of name" in Co. Dublin.
(Source "More Irish Families").

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