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Ayton surname and clans


History of the Ayton surname:

Shropshire / Welsh origins of de Eyton / Eton name:

  • The main candidate for the first mention of this place name is in “Codex Diplomaticus”, vol. vi, pp.253; which describes how Leofric, duke of Mercia [husband of Godiva], in 1043 granted by charter to the monks of Coventry: “Eton iuxta aquam quae dicitur Dee in Cestriae provincia”: “Eton next to the water that is called Dee in the county of Chester.”
  • In Domesday, Eaton is held by Ilbert, but soon was acquired by the Pulford's as follows (I think I got this right):
    • William de Eton, lord of Eton (and called son of William)
      • Sybil de Eton
        • m. Richard de Pulford, alias de Orreby who was the son of Richard de Pulford (known alive in 1190, 1220)
        • Hamond de Pulford, Lord of Eton living 1217 and 1286
          • Richard de Pulford, alias de Eton, Lord of Eton
            • Richard de Pulford, alias de Eton living 1300
              • Richard de Eton, lord of Eton with whom the Pulford name stopped.
                • …. to present day, England's richest man, Duke of Westminster.
    • interesting detailed history (summarised below), the de Eyton and Eaton Coat of Arms and a DNA tracing project.
  • The first to hold this noted name was Robert de Eyton of Shrewsbury in county Salop who lived circa 1154. Robert de Eyton was seated as Lord of the Manor of Eyton-on-the-Wildmoors.
  • presumed descendants in Shrewsbury include:
    • in 1394, John de Eyton was Sheriff of Salop; his brother, Humphrey Eyton, was Ranger of the Forest of Wrekin and Wildmoors; 
    • Sir Nicholas Eyton was Sheriff of Salop in 1440 and Knight of the Shire in 1449; 
    • Thomas Eyton was Sheriff in 1567; 
    • Sir Philip Eyton was High Sheriff of Salop in 1633; 
    • Sir Thomas Eyton was knighted at Shrewsbury in 1642 and his son, Rev. John Eyton, was Rector of Eyton and Vicar of Wellington; 
    • Thomas Eyton was High Sheriff of Salop in 1741 and another Thomas Eyton was High Sheriff of Salop in 1779.
  • gave rise to the notable family of EATON of Cheshire
    • erected Eaton Hall in Cheshire and also acquired Messing Park and Stretchworth Park
    • acquired Tolethorpe Hall in Rutland and Chapell Bar in Nottingham.
    • many settled in Kent then emigrated overseas to the New World in the 17th century with the 1st recorded Eatons in Nth America including:
      • Francis Eaton, his wife Sarah and son Samuel who arrived on the Mayflower and settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620
      • John Eaton of Dedham, John Eaton of Haverhill, Jonas Eaton of Reading, Nathaniel Eaton of Cambridge and William Eaton of Reading who settled in New England from 1630 to 1640
      • Theophilus Eaton with wife Anne and children Mary, Samuel, and Theophilus who arrived on the Hector and settled first in Boston in 1638 and finally New Haven, Connecticut
      • Alexander Eaton who settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651;
      • William Eaton who settled in North Carolina about 1670;
      • Thomas Eaton who settled in Shrewsbury, New Jersey in 1670;
      • Eliza Eaton who settled in Pennsylvania in 1682
      • John, George and Edward Eaton who settled in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania from 1683 to 1686.
      • There was a second migration from New England to Nova Scotia which occurred in 1760 with a further influx in 1770's culminating in 1783 in response to the American Civil War.
    • some EATON members managed to get convicted and transported to Australia in the late 18th/early 19th centuries (see below)

Scottish origins:

  • Perhaps the name originated in the county of Berwickshire which is south east of Edinburgh, and presumably the origin of the Ayton coat of arms - first found in Berwickshire, where they held a family seat from ancient times, long before the Norman Conquest in 1066.
  • Ayton village, Scottish borders south-east of Edinburgh, on the River Eye
    • Sweyn de Eiton who had possession of a “Town on the River Eye” during the 12th century is the earliest recorded progenitor of the Aytons.1)
      • Steffan, son of Swan de CEitun granted a charter of the lands of Wytefeld to the Priory of Coldingham in 1170 or thereabouts.
      • Dolfinus de eit’ and HeI de eitun were witnesses to a charter by Waltheus, earl of Dunbar c 1166
      • Elya de Eytone and Stephen de Eytona witnessed a charter by Patrick, 1st earl of Dunbar (1189-99)
      • His descendant, William de Eyton, is mentioned in the late 13th century Ragman Roll.
    • in 1349, Ayton Parish was hit by the Black Death plague for the 1st time, causing the population to remain virtually constant for nearly 150 years.
    • in 14thC, the name Aytoun is found in Fife when John Aytoun had a charter of the lands of Over Pittadie and from him are descended the Aytouns of Inchdairnie.
    • in 1440, Mark of Aytoune, a merchant of Leith (near Edinburgh) had safe conduct to trade in England.
    • The family held their lands until 1472 when an heiress married into a branch of the Home family thereafter known as the Homes of Ayton. However, the heiress had an uncle named Andrew who became Captain of Stirling Castle during the reign of James IV and was given lands at Dunmuir in north Fife after which the Aytons became a Fifeshire family.
    • in 1497, after the Earl of Surrey's attacks and demolition of the old Ayton Castle,  Ayton Parish ceased to be a strategic stronghold of the Hume family who had dominated the region since 1472 and were to continue being prominent in the parish's history over the centuries.
  • In the 15thC, the lands of Ayton passed to George de Home, remaining in that family until 1716 when they were forfeited for rebellion.
  • in 1527, Andrew Athone was rector of Spot, and Andrew Athoun of Dunmur was a witness in 1549.
  • in the 16thC, the senior Ayton family moved to Fife but some are reputed to have stayed in Berwickshire (now “Scottish Borders”) for another 10 generations.
    • branches of the Aitons were established in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Angus and Kincardineshire (now “Aberdeenshire”). It is likely that these branches were formed by working folk who once worked for the Ayton family and took the name.
  • Ayton Castle, Eyemouth was constructed for the family of Mitchell-Innes in 1851:
  • other references:
  • some Aytons from these Scottish origins:
    • Sir Robert Ayton (Aytoun) of Kincaldie 1570-1638 - one of the earliest Scottish poets to use standard English as a literary medium 
      • He was private secretary to the queens of James I and Charles I, besides holding other posts of honor. He wrote poems in French, Greek, and Latin, of which only the latter are preserved.
      • A poem, “Old Long Syne,” that is ascribed to Ayton may possibly have been the inspiration for the famous “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns as it contains the line “Should old acquaintance be forgot, And never thought upon”
    • William Aiton (1731-1793) botanist2)
      • born near Hamilton. He trained as a gardner and travelled to London in 1754 where he became an assistant superintendent of the Chelsea Physic Garden. He moved to Kew gardens in 1759 where he became director, a post he held until his death. In 1789 he published Hortus Kewensis, a catalogue of the plants cultivated there.
        • William Townsend Aiton (1766 – 1894) is William's son, he followed his father into the profession of botanist. He extended his father’s work on horticulture and produced an enlarged version of Hortus Kewensis in 1810.
    • Richard Ayton (1786-1823) - dramatist and writer
    • William T Ayton - British painter born in north of England, now living in USA.
    • Malcolm Ayton, treasurer of the Scottish-based Ayton Family Society who have a newsletter - email him on 
    • a Dr Ayton taught the son of Captain Thomas Murray in England - the son was born in Edinburgh and was named Henry Thomas Ayton Murray (1826-1893) and emigrated to Hobart, Tasmania in 1839 where he became a Justice of the Peace and later was transferred to Launceston, and was the second Senior Police Magistrate of Tasmania 3)

Yorkshire Aytons:

  • although it is possible the Berwickshire Aytons migrated south to Yorkshire, the existence of villages named AYTON which existed prior to 1066 would suggest the possibility of a separate family arising from this region deriving their name from the village names.
  • Great Ayton village in North Riding, Yorkshire, England where Capt James Cook attended school from age 8yrs before “discovering” Australia in 1770. Cook's cottage was dismantled and shipped to Australia in 1934 to be re-erected in Melbourne's Fitzroy Gardens. A late 12thC church still remains as does Cook's schoolhouse. 
  • East and West Ayton, Yorkshire, England
    • The village sites date from Roman days.
    • Later, the Saxons and the Danes settled near the site of Ayton Castle and the name Ayton was bestowed, meaning 'a settlement by the Ay' or river.
    • The Domesday Book describes 'Atun' as having '15 villuns' and '4 ploughs' but this entry was made after the pillaging of the north by William I (William the Conqueror) during which cattle were slain, houses and crops burned to the ground and fields ravaged.
      By the reign of King John, the Norman family de Aton appears to be the chief family in the village.
    • It is likely that Gilbert, First Lord of Ayton, first constructed an early version of Ayton castle. He died in 1350 and was succeeded by his son William. William, who died in 1389 at 90, left his Malton and Ayton estates to his daughter Catherine, who later married Sir Ralph de Eure. The existing (now ruined) castle was built by Sir Ralph.
    • the church dates from the 12th century.
  • Mel Ayton - British political historian living in Durham, England
    • The Atton family have lived in the village of Braunston in Rutland since at least 1500. It is possible that the family descends from the de Atons / de Attons / de Aytons of Pickering Lythe (West Ayton etc)

Migration to Norfolk or originating in Norfolk:

  • the Ayton's of Norfolk, England:
  • Syderstone family:
  • Itteringham family (c1765-):
  • south Norfolk:
      • John Ayton (-1754) probably married Mary (-1772) around 1724 in the Attleborough area, and went on to have several children in New Buckenham between 1726 and 1742:
        • John (bapt 1727) married Elizabeth Page (at Besthorpe, in 1755) and went on to initiate a line of Aytons in Wymondham, Hingham and Bunwell.
        • Charles (Eighteen, bapt 1742) married Elizabeth LAKE (at Attleborough, in 1777) and initiated the Attleborough branch of the family.
      • It is possible that John was a descendant of the Andrew EYTON who married Evelyne LEA in Old Buckenham in 1624.
    • Aytons of Diss, south Norfolk
      • William and Susan Ayton had at least two children baptised in Diss, in 1737 and 1742
      • a Charles and Mary Ayton also appear to have been having children in the parish around the same period.
      • in 1821 census of Diss there were G. Eaton, John Blaxall, William Ayton, Mrs Ayton
      • C. Ayton (c1738-1813) aged 75yrs of Diss, had been 49yrs as sexton of the parish. - The Gentleman's Magazine May 1813 obituary.
        • a Chas. Ayton was witness at a number of ELLIS marriages in 1773-1812. - see here 
      • Robert AYTON (1843-) m. Harriett SCASE in 1873, son Robert AYTON (1874-) - see here
  • associated families in Norfolk, England in 1750-1850 include:
    • POOLEY:
      • lived near and married an Ayton of Itteringham and name given to William Pooley Ayton (perhaps of Itteringham) who emigrated to Australia.
      • married an AYTON of Diss and their son was presumably George who was convicted and transported to Australia.
    • WELLS:
      • there were WELLS in Itteringham in 1851 near the POOLEY and AYTON families
      • WELLS and POOLEYs emigrated to Canada from Necton, Norfolk - see here 
      • a Mary WELLS from Tatterset, Norfolk married William AYTON (1807-) of Docking - see here
      • Mary WACEY of South Creake, Docking married Wiliam AYTON (1763-) of Syderstone
    • BARNES:
      • Anne BARNES married John AYTON (1785-) of Syderstone
      • Thomas AYTON (1808/10-1889)
        • m. Mary HAMMOND (HOWMAN/HAUMOND) (1806-1871) in 1833 in Norfolk
    • YAXLEY:
      • Thomas YAXLEY married the daughter of Edward AYTON (1810-) of Norfolk, Maria.
    • hence my Norfolk research web scrapbook trying to establish linkages.


    • Henry and Mary Ayton had a son John baptised at Huntingfield in north-east Suffolk in 1682, and John's descendants continued to flourish in the area around Halesworth, Chediston, Sibton and Peasenhall down until the early 19th century.
    • Several branches of the family moved south:
      • to the area around Cressing and Braintree in Essex - see Aytons of the area around Braintree, Essex
      • to the east end of London
      • to Godstone in Surrey
      • and to Sussex
      • while one branch moved to Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
    • This is the family of Chris Ayton of Cheshire and Chris Ayton of Sussex, both active researchers of the general history of the Ayton family.
    • Another (probably related) local line springs from Hannah Ayton (b.c.1778 in Halesworth) who married Robert Whitton at Denham in 1797. This line is being researched by Geoff Whitton.

Migration to London:

  • inevitably it would seem some of the AYTON descendants would come to London in the late 18th/early 19th centuries, at this stage I have not been able to determine the parents or origins of:
    • Richard “George” AYTON (1823-1886) of London was convicted of theft and transported to Tasmania, Australia in 1842.
      • according to his convict record via his descendent Val Dayman:
        • father ?Christopher AYTON
        • siblings: William, Christopher, Henry and Robert
        • occupation: butcher
        • “Native Place”: Boro, London.
    • John AYTON (1826c-1894) was born in Islington, London and immigrated to Tasmania, Australia.
      • father John Ayton of Suxmundham, Suffolk
      • uncle Lt Garnham Blaxall
    • William AYTON
      • Charles AYTON (1826-) m. Emma CARTER (1830-)
    • Mary AYTON (1739-1770) 
      • married Benjamin WESTALL (1736-1794)
      • Richard WESTALL R.A. (1765-1836) painter of the Royal Academy - see here 
        • Richard thanks a William AYTON, a banker of Lombard St, in a poem
        • Richard painted and exhibited portraits of John Ayton and William Ayton at the RA in 1806
        • Richard was a close friend of John Ayton (-1829) 
        • Richard's half-brother, William Westall A.R.A. (1781-1850) travelled to Australia with Matthew Flinders
      • descendants of Benjamin Westall went to Australia.
    • Fanny Ayton (opera singer and actress)
      •  singer in the late 1820's - the prima donna at the King's theatre - see here and here
    • John Ayton, Captain of merchant vessel died 1815-1825 m. Elizabeth DENT (1794-) in 1805


Ayton members who migrated to Australia in the 19th century:

Convict deportation to Australia:

  • EATON convicts (see here):
    • on the First Fleet in 1788:
      • Mary EATON alias SHEPHARD from Exeter Devon, England convicted in 1786.
      • Martha EATON listed as in service to Edward Jones. convicted in 1786.
      • John EATON of Derby
    • others:
      • William EATON was born February 3,1769 at Bethnal Green, UK and died May 31, 1858 at Richmond, NSW. Convicted 1788, arrived in Australia 1792.
      • Ann EATON Nottingham, age 20, convicted in 1809.
      • Patrick EATON (in Sydney 1821)
      • Benjamin EATON of Northampton was 38 years old, serving a 15 year term, convicted March 28, 1851
      • John EATON from Worcester, England was 34 years old as of date of conviction, December 31, 1861, serving a 10 year term for sheep stealing
      • William EATON from Central Criminal Court was 43 at time of conviction, October 27, 1851
      • Christopher EATON of Salford, 21 years old as of his conviction May 21, 1849 serving a 10-year sentence for larceny
      • John EATON from the Central Criminal Court, 37 years old as of April 9, 1849 when he was sentenced to 10 years for burglary.
      • William John EATON 28, of Pontrefract, convicted April 9, 1866 of larceny, serving a 10-year term.
      • John EATON from ship Albion, 23 years of age, Index 5, absconded.
  • Robert Simpson Ayton (c1801-) transported 1823
    • a 22 year old servant of Thomas Flint, a haberdasher, he was indicted for stealing silk stockings and the like 4)
    • convicted at London Gaol Delivery for a term of 7 years.
    • one of 160 convicts transported on the Guildford, 22 August 18235)
    • arrived in NSW
    • obtained Ticket of Leave in Bathurst, NSW in 1828 - see here
    • in 1830 married Mary Anne Christie of Moorilda, NSW
    • was in court in 1831 after becoming insolvent - see here
    • no apparent relationship to my family tree
  • Robert AYTON transported 1835
    • convicted at Norfolk Quarter Session for a term of 14 years on 05 March 1834
    • one of 240 convicts transported on the Bardaster, 07 September 1835
    • transported to Van Diemen's Land in 18356)
    • will have to chase this one up!
  • William AYTON (c1821-) transported 1836
    • single, aged 15 years, was transported to NSW on the Bengal Merchant
    • 7yr sentence for picking pocketing a handkerchief at age 14 years 7)8)
    • a further sentence at Maitland – life. see here for account of his convictions.
    • convicted at Central Criminal Court for a term of 7 years.
    • one of 270 convicts transported on the Bengal Merchant, 04 August 18369)
  • Edward AYTON of Syderstone transported 1837
    • my great grandfather's uncle
    • was convicted for a term of 7 years and was one of 210 convicts transported to Australia on the Blenheim departing 11th March 1837.10)
    • this transportation resulted in the subsequent assisted immigration of his nephews, nieces and two daughters (see below).
  • Mary Ayton transported 1840
    • Convicted at York Assizes for a term of 15 years
    • one of 213 convicts transported on the Surrey, 28 March 1840 and arrived in NSW11)

Unknown emigration but presumably assisted emigration or employed by the British:

  • William AYTON conducted a business, with varying success in the Huon area – west of Hobart.
  • Robert Melrose / Melsom AYTON came to Tasmania as a private in the Royal Staff Corps.  In 1830 he was Overseer of Launceston Medical Dept. but in Nov. 1835 was executed.
  • Peter AYTON (1782-1849) was Chief District constable 1824. 1828 he sent to the Governor a memorial for a grant of land for capturing bushrangers.   
    • buried in St John's New Town Hobart with his wife or sister Anne who died in 1855 aged 64yrs - see here
    • Anne AYTON (1791-1855) d. Hobart. see here
    • but if it was his wife, did they have any children and where did he come from?
  • Rebecca AYTON (1789-1871) b. England, d. Hobart see here 
  • Richard AYTON (1801-) m. Julia MAHAR in 1861 in Hobart. see here 
  • John AYTON who was born c1826 in Islington, London, operated a prosperous furniture warehouse, d. 8/11/1894 at O'Brien's Bridge (now called Glenorchy), Tasmania. - see here
    • m. Eliza Ann REDFORD, m. 9.7.1859
    • presumably he is the John Ayton living in Liverpool St, Hobart in 1867 - see here
  • William Pooley AYTON, son of Joshua Ayton and Mary Barwick of Itteringham presumably emigrated to Hobart under this scheme in the 1850's. see here.
  • Denman James AYTON (1850-1929) m. 1876 Louise GOSPER, died Boggabri, NSW 
  • Christopher AYTON m. Mary Ann Landells (1841-1859) from England who died in Coburg Pentridge after having twins who both died.

Assisted emigration to Australia in 1857:

Assisted emigration to Australia in 1862:

  • Robert AYTON (1840-1886) of Syderstone (my great, grandfather) at 22 came to Victoria on the “Solway” and to Tasmania on the “Black Swan” in 1862 with his cousin Edward Ayton (1838-) aged 23 and cousin Mary Ann AYTON (1836-1916) who had married John MITCHELL. 

later immigrants:

  • Ayton brothers from Paisley, Scotland:
    • Thomas McDonald AYTON b. c1889 Paisley, Scotland enlisted in Aust. service in Melbourne in 1915 see here. Father James AYTON in Paisley Scotland.
    • James Ferguson AYTON b. c.1893 Paisley, Scotland enlisted in Aust. service in Melbourne in 1915 see here. Father James AYTON in 16 Barcly St, Paisley Scotland.
    • Ephraim AYTON - great grandson Robert Ayton has a blog
  • AYTON George Albert born 13 June 1938; Joan Maureen (nee Royal) born 7 April 1939; Susan Joan born 25 April 1957; Wendy Ann born 18 October 1958; Alan George born 29 January 1961; Barry born 24 August 1965; travelled per aircraft departing UK on 13 March 1967 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme see here
  • Anna Maria CHAFFEY nee LEGGO (1823-1903), the daughter of Christopher LEGGO (LEGAULT) and Ann AYTON of Cornwall, England who were among the 1st settlers in the Perth area of Ontario, Canada. After Anna Maria's husband George CHAFFEY, a ship builder in Ontario died in 1884, becoming the 1st white settler to die there, she came to Australia and died in Mildura in 1903. see pdf here.

Some other Aytons around the world:

  • Gary Stephen Douglas Ayton of Utah University, nephew of George T Ayton of Canada whose ancestry includes a William Ayton b.11/6/1781 d. 14/12/1861 of England - very close in name, DOB and location to my ancestor and seems to have a 2nd wife with 1st unknown …hmmm…but he died at EngineRow, Govan Hill, Scotland. Seems their origins are from Forfar, Angus, Scotland around 1750.
  • Andrew Ayton - British historian
  • Sarah Ayton - born in Weymouth, England, won gold medal at 2004 Olympics in sailing
  • Ayton's photography - Christchurch, NZ based photography services headed by a Danish-born, British-trained Phil van Deurs?
  • Tracey Ayton - Canadian professional photographer
  • John AYTON m. Harriet Jane OGILVIE (1823-) in Grahamstown, South Africa - see here

Other places called Ayton:

  • Ayton, Queensland, Australia
    • remote town in far northern Queensland, north-west of Port Douglas, named by Capt James Cook


genealogy/ayton.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/21 23:01 by gary1

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