Whitford (also Whiteford, and Whitefoord) is a British surname that emerged in the 13th Century both in the south of England and in the Scottish lowlands. The English and Scots Whitfords do not appear to be related. History records working class and aristocratic class peoples sharing the name. Two Whitfords appear in an annex of the Magna Charta (1215) in the list of persons entitled to the rights of nobility. In 1530, Richard Whitford, a "scholar-monk," was an active writer of religious works. In 1635, Walter Whitford, a Scottish cleric, was appointed Bishop of Brechin during the reign of Charles I. At least two of his sons attended Oxford University and fought for the King against Cromwell during the English Civil War. A coat of arms was registered to Sir Adam Whitford in 1704. Richard Whitford, a barber, was involved in the Jacobite "Uprising" in Cornwall in 1716. Another Richard Whitford was a Victorian artist. Greeley Whitford served as a United States Attorney for Colorado and, in the early 20th Century, as Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Sir John Whitford, Air Vice-Marshal, fought in World War II. Bradley Whitford is a prominent 21st Century American actor. In 2016 Dr. Philippa Whitford and Dr. Eilidh Whiteford are members of Parliament of the United Kingdom representing districts in Scotland.
Whitfords settled in the American colonies in the mid 17th Century with branches in Rhode Island and in the Chesapeake areas of Virginia and Maryland. In the 18th Century, prior to the American Revolution, a fairly large branch of the family settled in Craven County, North Carolina where many still reside. There are branches of the family in Canada and Australia.