An English surname, Willoughby comes from the Old English terms ‘willig’ and ‘beag’ which refer to a willow or settlement and ring. A variation in spelling Willoughby is Willowby. In England the Lincolnshire area is where most with the Willoughby name originated. Some of the early Norman knights were de Willoughby. Additional northern regions for Willoughby are Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, Cornwall, Berkshire and the city of London. In Scotland the Willoughby name is in Lancashire and Wigtownshire counties. Within the United States the Willoughby families first settled in Massachusetts and then Virginia during the 17th century. Over the decades the Willoughbys have primarily lived in North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, California, Washington and New York. Famous: Hugh L. Willoughby (early pioneer aviator who worked with the Wright Brothers and was an explorer of the Florida Everglades), Charl Willoughby (professional cricketer from South Africa), Lillian Willoughby (founder of ‘Take Back the Night’), Kim Marie Willoughby (Olympic volleyball player), William W. Willoughby (professional basketball player) and Holly Willoughby (English television presenter).