Origins of Name:
The Burton surname derives from a geographical location of the same name. Burton is found mainly in northern and midland counties of England. Today this location is known as Burton on Trent in Staffordshire. The old English word burh which means fort, and tun which means an enclosure or settlement is the origin of the surname. The first appearance of the surname Burton appears as early as 1150 in Yorkshire for the man Ioluard in Burhtun.
More common variations are:
Bourton, Burtton, Burtoni, Burtoin, Burrton, Bhurton, Bureton, Beurton, Burtone, Burtony,
Burton appeared at a very early time in the English Midlands.
In 1178, Gerard de Burton was recorded in the Warwickshire Pipe Rolls.
Robert de Burton in the year 1200 was recorded in a village named Ibstock in Leicestershire. He was an early ancestor of Sir William Burton who was a standard bearer for Henry VI, who was killed in the Battle of Towton in 1461.
Other notable early Burtons were the Burtons of Lindley Hall. Ralph Burton was a country gentleman in this family and his son, Robert Burton was a scholar at Oxford University who penned the famous classic “The Anatomy of Melancholy”. His brother was William Burton, a notable antiquarian.
Other early notable Burtons include the Burton MP’s in Nottinghamshire who were there prior to 1400 and after as well. Thomas Burton was a wool merchant of Loughborough in Leicestershire. A line of Burtons lived in Longner Hall near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. This line has been living in Longner Hall as far back as 1346, and remain there to this day.
One Edward Burton survived the Battle of Towton in 1461 and was later knighted by Edward IV. A descendant of his, Richard Burton was a 19th century explorer and oreientalist.
In 1628, the sheriff of Derbyshire was Richard Burton. Richard Burton was also the descendant of Sir William Burton’s brother.
In the 15th century, the surname would expand into Yorkshire. Henry Burton distributed anti-establishment propaganda in the early 17th century, and would have his ears cut off for doing so. Richard Burton emigrated to Virginia in 1630, and he originally was from Yorkshire.
In the middle of the 19th century, John Burton trained as a printer and opened a photography studio in Leicester. His customers included royalty and his business was very successful. His two sons would continue the family business and open another studio in Dunedin.
In 1818, a plumber from Essex would immigrate to Canada with his family. They would eventually settle in Scarborough which is now a suburb of Toronto.
Also in the early part of the 19th century, Samuel and Hannah Burton would immigrate to Amherstburg, Ontario. They had ten children. One of which, Ontario Taylor would become an ordained elder in the Mormon church. He would eventually move to settle in Salt Lake valley and would go on to have twenty-seven children with many wives.
Other notable Burtons who arrived early in Canada are John Burton who arrived in St. John’s in 1706. Daniel Burton arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749, Richard Burton arrived in Novia Scotia in 1749, Benjamin Burton arrived in Novia Scotia in 1749, and Robert Burton also arrived in Novia Scotia in 1749.
Richard Burton in 1634 would land in Virginia from London and is speculated to be one of the first Burtons to come to America. His two sons owned plantations in Virginia in Cobbs and Longfield in Henrico county. One of his descendants – Robert Burton – would fight in the Revolutionary War and go on to serve in the Continental Congress for Virginia. His nephew, Hutchins Burton, would become the Governor of North Carolina. Many Burtons from this line fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
John Burton from Raburn county, Georgia is the namesake for Burton township. It was later flooded and renamed to Lake Burton.
United States 121,262
South Africa 4,822
New Zealand 2,132
Mr. Edward John Burton (d. 1912), English Fireman/Stoker
Harry Burton (1879-1940), English Egyptologist and archaeological photographer
Elaine Burton (b. 1904), English politician, Baroness Burton of Coventry
Decimus Burton (1800-1881), English architect
Anthony Burton (1937-2016), American actor, boxer, comedian, and football player
Gabrielle Burton (1939-2015), American feminist novelist and screenwriter
Raymond S. "Ray" Burton (1939-2013), American politician
Brigadier Francis Robert Burton (b. 1906), Australian Deputy Adjutant-General
Levardis Robert Martyn “LeVar” Burton Jr. (b. 1957), American actor