Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Felton Name
Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This Anglo-Saxon name is a local surname meaning “of Felton”, which were parishes in counties Northumberland, Hereford, Salop, and Somerset. One source states it means the rocky area. Another source, Dictionary of American Family Names, states it derives from the old English word feld (pasture or open country) and tun (enclosure or settlement). Hence it means the village or farm in the open country. The locale Felton Hill in Northumberland is named with the Old English first name Fygla (from the word fugol meaning bird).
The family was first found in Norfolk, where according to Samuel Lewis’ book A Topographical Dictionary of England, “the village of Litcham, which is large, consisting of several streets, had formerly a market and some annual fiars, granted by Edward I to Robert de Felton”.
The most common spelling variant of Feltone.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name ranks Felton ranks 2,115th in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name is highest ranked in Wyoming, Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi, and West Virginia. The name ranks 1,852nd in England, where it ranks highest in the following two counties: Essex and Shropshire. It ranks 9,178th in Canada, 5,450th in South African, 2,671st in Australia, 1,303rd in Wales, 4,204th in New Zealand, 5,546th in Scotland, and 3,314th in Ireland.
Early Bearers of the Surname
The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD documents one bearers: Johannes de Felton. The History of Norfolk lists one William de Felton in county Norfolk in 1349 AD who was rector of St. Mary Magdalen in Warham, county Norfolk. The Placita de Quo Warranto lists one John de Feltone in county Nottinghamshire during the reign of King Edward I (1272-1307) and William de Feltone in county Northumberland. Two early marriages involving this surname include Edward Felton to Elizabeth Crockett in 1578 and Thomas Felton to Jane Smith at St. James Clerkenwell in London in 1669 AD.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
The history of the family begins with two brothers who came to England in 1066 AD with William the Conqueror. In return for the military service and loyalty, they were granted gifts of land in Northumberland near the Scottish borders Near the end of the thirteenth century, a second son was given the village and lands around it as his inheritance. His eldest brother inherited a Barony. The name of the village was Felton. The website feltonfamily.org states “The Family were mainly warriors in service to the various Kings of England and gained fame and fortune by their service. In 1381, one of the men was a trusted soldier of the Black Prince and was “created a Knight of the Garter.” He had served the Prince in many battles in France and became the “Seneschal” or keeper of the province of Guienne and Aquitaine.”
Sir William de Felton was born in 1260. He married Constance Pontop and had a daughter named Margaret. Margaret was born in 1308 in Eldingham Castle and married Robert Betram in 1328 with whom she had a son named Helen.
Sir William Felton, the Sheriff of Northumberland, died in 1328 but had three issue: Robert, William, and Edmund. His son Sir Robert was born in 1264 AD in Litcham, Mitford. He married Hawise Strange and had a son named John. John was born in in 1289 and married Sybil (last name not known). They had a son named Thomas who was born in 1342. Sir Thomas married Joan Walkefare and had two daughters with her: Mary and Eleanor (Hoo).
Harrell Irvin Felton was born in 1768 in North Carolina. He married Permelia Gentry and they had a son named Grief who was born in 1806 in South Carolina. He married Mellissa Staton and they had a daughter named Lucinda (Roberson). He died in 1860 in Caroline, Arkansas.
Early American and New World Settlers
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions two people bearing this surname: 1) Benjamin Felton of Salem in 1635 who became a freeman four years later, who had a wife named Mary with whom he had three issue with: John (1640), Remember (1643), and Benjamin (1641) and 2) Nathaniel Felton who was came to Salem in 1633 at the age of 17 and was the brother of the aforementioned Benjamin. He died at age 90 in 1705 and left several children: John, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, Ruth, Hannah, Mary, and Susanna.
Other early settlers include Jon Felton (Virginia 1637), Elinor Felton (Virginia 1637), Richard Felton (Virginia 1702), and Johann Valentine Felton (New York 1709). A one John Felton (with wife, one child, 16 slaves, and several servants) was recorded in the town of St. Michael’s Barbados in 1680.
We have ten coats of arms for the Oakes surname depicted here. These ten blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it.
Famous people with this last name include: 1) John Brooks Felton (1827-1877) who was the 14th Mayor of Oakland, California, 2) John Felton (died 1570) was a Catholic martyr in England who was exceuced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 2, 3) William Felton (1715-1769) who was an English composer, and 4) Nicholas Felton (1556-1626) who was an English academic and Bishop of Bristol in 1617.
Felton Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Felton blazon are the lion passant, plate, baton and garb. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and ermine.
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines . Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found . The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms . The lion passant is an example of these modified form, showing the creature on all fours, as if walking proudly. In common with all reprensentations of the lion it can be taken to be an “emblem of deathless courage”.
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose One of the simplest such shapes is the plain circle, known to heralds as the roundle. So popular is this charge that a shorthand has arisen for roundles of a particular colour and plate is a roundle argent, or white. Most authorities agree that the English usage signifies the “Manchet cake” or communion wafer and thus is a symbol of religious allegiance.
The baton is not a short staff, as its usage today suggests, but a geometrical ordinary on the shield, being a bendlet sinister couped, i.e. a narrow diagonal band cut off at each end. In ancient times it was said to be a mark of illegitimacy that should be retained for three generations.