Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Orton Name
This interesting surname is of Anglo-Scottish origins. If English it is usually locational from any one of the different places called Orton but noted in the famous Domesday Book of England in 1086 as Ovretone, Ovretune and Worton. All these share the same second component of the pre 7th-century word “tun”, meaning a farm or settlement, but the first component in each example is more difficult to determine. More common variations are: Oerton, Oreton, Oarton, Ortton, Yorton, Ortona, Ortone, Ortoni, Ortoan, Uorton.
The surname Orton first appeared in Cumberland, Where they held a family seat from very early times as Lords of the Estate of Orton, some say before the Norman Invasion in 1066 AD. The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Aethelweard de Ortun, dated 1051, in the “Old English Byname Register”. It was during the reign of King Edward, who was known as “The Confessor” dated 1042-1066. Surname all over the country became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.
Some of the people with the name Orton who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included Thomas Orton, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1636. People with the surname Orton who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Christopher Orton, who landed in Georgia in 1741. People with the surname Orton who landed in the Canada in the 18th century included John Orton, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749.
Orton Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Orton blazon are the lion rampant, squirrel, leopard and rose. The three main tinctures (colors) are vert, argent and gules .
The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” . It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found . More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald . More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
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 rampant is an example of these modified form, and any family would be proud to have such a noble creature displayed on their arms. Rampant is the default attitude of the lion, raised on its hind legs, facing to the dexter and with front paws extended in a fearsome and powerful pose.
The squirrel is a quite delightful charge, always shown sitting upright (known as sejant) and eating a nut, in a most lifelike manner (as this author can attest due to the presence of exactly such a creature outside his window as I write this). It should not surprise us that the significance of such a creature upon a coat of arms is a love of the “sylvan retirement” to be found in the woods and forest.
In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The leopard Is a typical example of these.