Clayton Surname Genealogy

Clayton name is
locational, from various places now called Clayton in Lancashire,
Staffordshire and Sussex. Lancashire has
the largest number of these place-names – Clayton Vale near Manchester,
Clayton-le-Dale near Blackburn, Clayton-le-Moors near Accrington, and
Clayton-le-Woods near Chorley. The root is the Old English clorg-tun, meaning “settlement on the clay.”
The earliest spelling,
as Claitone and Claitune, was in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname appeared in its present form in
the Lancashire pipe rolls of 1263.

Clayton Resources on

Clayton Ancestry

England. The
largest numbers of Claytons have been in Lancashire.

Lancashire. The forebear of the
Claytons in Lancashire
is said to have been the Norman Robert de Clayton who was granted lands
Clayton-le-Moors after the Conquest. Clayton Hall passed to the
Byron family
after the marriage of Cecilia de Clayton to Robert de Byron in 1191. But Clayton Manor remained in Clayton
hands. John Clayton of this family was
the first in the family to drop the “de” around the year 1500.

These Claytons subsequently
acquired the Adlington and Worthington manors.
Richard Clayton was Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland
1765 until his death in 1770 and another Richard Clayton was created a
in 1774. The Claytons of Fulwood
near Preston were near-relatives. They
were sugar and tobacco merchants
. Their numbers also
Clayton, the
century Irish Protestant bishop.

Cheshire. Another old Clayton family, possibly related,
was recorded as
beginning with Randal de Clayton who held land at Thelwall in the early
1300’s. This family prospered at the
time of the dissolution of the monasteries.
Church records showed the baptism of Henry Clayton, son of Peter
Clayton, in Thelwall in 1577. Sir Randall
Clayton of this family left for Mallow in county Cork in the early

Elsewhere. There is a place called
Clayton in Yorkshire. But some Claytons in
Yorkshire may have come from the original Lancashire stock.
That was probably the
case with Thomas Clayton who lived at Clayton Hall in High Hoyland
parish near
Barnsley in Yorkshire in the 15th century:

  • a
    line of these Claytons was thought to have settled near Chichester in
    Sussex on the south coast. William
    Clayton of this family departed with William Penn for America in
  • John
    Clayton, a merchant, came to London from Yorkshire around the year 1650. He settled in Enfield. His
    son Samuel acquired the former royal game
    reserve, Enfield Old Park, in 1736

Another line of Claytons, dating back to the late
14th century, came from a small farming stock at Bulwick in
Northamptonshire. Robert Clayton left the
village sometime in
the 1640’s for London where he apprenticed as a scrivener
He later made his mark as a merchant banker
and became very rich and a benefactor to many causes.
His statue stands in front of St. Thomas’s
Hospital opposite the Houses of Parliament.
William Clayton was made a Baronet in 1732 and this line has continued
ten iterations until the present time.

also be a Romany (gypsy) name, found primarily in Warwickshire and its
environs from
the 1750’s onwards. In 1808 Brington
married Charlotte Booth on the same day and in the same church as
Francis Clayton married Mary Bannister.
Eric Trudgill’s 2009 booklet covered the family trees of Francis
Mary Clayton and John and Mary Booth.

America. James
Clayton, a blacksmith from Middlewich in Cheshire, was the English
forebear of
the Delaware family of Claytons. He came
with his wife and children in William Penn’s fleet to Pennsylvania in

The line through his son John and grandson
James led to Dr. Joshua Clayton who served as the first Governor and
second Senator
for Delaware. His son Thomas was also US
Senator, as was his nephew John who as well became US Secretary of
State under
Zachary Taylor. Henry Hepburn’s 1904
book The Clayton Family covered this
family and their antecedents in England.

Another line of this family, through a
later blacksmith James Clayton, migrated first to North Carolina in the
and then, after the Revolutionary War, to Georgia, Alabama and
Louisiana. Henry
D. Clayton became a general in the Confederate army and was later the
of the University of Alabama. His
Alabama home was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Descended from the Sussex immigrant William
Clayton was Powell Clayton,
born in Pennsylvania,
who was a Union general during the Civil War.
He afterwards settled in Arkansas
his brother William, serving as both its Republican Governor and
Senator. William
Clayton, a judge, was later instrumental in bringing statehood to

Australia. William Clayton, a sawyer,
left Manchester
with his wife under an assisted passage program for South Australia in
1854. There he struggled to find work
and after ten years they returned to England.
But England was no better and they returned to Adelaide in
where William eked out a living again.

All of this
would have been forgotten had not Clayton in 1913, at the age of 80,
penned his
remarkable memoirs. They covered in
vivid and candid detail his career as a working man.
He lived to be 100.

Clayton Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Clayton Names

de Clayton
granted lands at
Clayton-le-Moors in Lancashire, was the forebear of the Claytons in

Robert Clayton
was a prosperous merchant banker who became
Lord Mayor of London in 1679.
John Clayton
was US Senator for Delaware between
1829 and 1849 and subsequently
served as US Secretary of State under Zachary Taylor.

Select Claytons Today

  • 29,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 20,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 12,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


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