What is the origin of the last name Norton?

The last name Norton originates from medieval England, derived from the Old English personal name "Northmann" or "Nordmann," which referred to someone from the north. The suffix "-ton" indicates a settlement or enclosure, giving the name its meaning as "the settlement of the Northman." As a patronymic surname, Norton conveyed the familial lineage of individuals descended from the original bearer of the name. Over time, it became established as a hereditary surname, and variations such as Nortone or Norton became common. The name's etymology reveals its connection to both geographic and ancestral origins, reflecting the historical movements and settlement patterns of the Northmen.

Countries of origin for the last name Norton

The last name Norton originates from England and Scotland. It is a habitational name derived from the place name Norton, which is composed of the Old English elements “norð,” meaning “north,” and “tun,” meaning “settlement” or “enclosure.”

The earliest recorded instance of the surname Norton dates back to the 12th century. A Roger de Norton is mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire in 1130. The surname was later found in various regions across England, such as Yorkshire, Kent, Somerset, and Hampshire.

The Norton name has also been associated with titles and nobility. For instance, Richard Norton, who lived during the 16th century, was a member of the prominent Norton family of Rotherfield, Sussex. He was known for his involvement in the political and religious conflicts of the time.

Over time, the Norton surname spread to other parts of the world through migration and settlement. Today, it is found not only in England and Scotland but also in other English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

As with many surnames, variations in spelling have occurred throughout history. Some common alternative spellings of Norton include Nortun, Nortonne, and Nortaine. These variations may have emerged due to changes in pronunciation or individual preferences.

The meaning behind the Norton name may be interpreted as “the north settlement” or “the settlement in the north.” It suggests a connection to a place located in the northern part of a region or country. However, without further historical context, it is challenging to determine the exact reason for the settlement being labeled as “north.”

Overall, the surname Norton has a rich history and is associated with various regions, titles, and individuals throughout England and Scotland. Its global presence indicates the migration and dispersal of Norton families throughout the English-speaking world. While the name’s etymology suggests a connection to a northern settlement, the specific origins and historical significance of each Norton family remains an intriguing subject of further research and exploration.

Interesting facts about the last name Norton

  • The surname Norton is of English origin.
  • It is derived from the Old English words “north” meaning “north” and “tun” meaning “settlement” or “enclosure”, indicating someone who lived in or near a northern settlement.
  • The name Norton has been recorded in English documents since the 8th century.
  • The Norton family name has various spelling variations including Nortown, Nortun, and Northton.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Norton include American actor Edward Norton and British broadcaster Graham Norton.
  • The name Norton appears frequently as a place name, with several towns and villages named Norton in different parts of England and Scotland.
  • In heraldry, the Norton coat of arms features a gold shield with three black eagles.
  • The Norton Motorcycle Company, founded in 1898, was one of the most iconic motorcycle manufacturers in British history.
  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, first published in 1962, is a renowned collection of English literature texts used in many college courses.

Name Rank


There are around 63722 people with the last name Norton in the US

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