Byron Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Byron Meaning
Byron surname originates from the place-name Byrom found
in both Lancashire and Yorkshire.  This
place-name, derived from the Old English byrum
from byre meaning “barn” or “byre,”
could be translated as “at the cattle shed
Byron Resources on

Byron Ancestry

England.  Ralph
de Burun
was a Norman knight who held Horestan Castle in
Derbyshire by 1086 and possibly before.  A
hundred years later, his descendant Robert took possession through
marriage of
Clayton Hall in Lancashire and adopted the name of Byron.

Clayton Hall was to be the Byron home for the
next three hundred years.   By the
1400’s Sir John Byron had established himself as one of the leading
figures in
Lancashire.  A later Sir John, known as
“Little Sir John with the great beard,” was the High Sheriff of
Lancashire in
Elizabethan times.

were to be found at Clayton, Colwick
and Newstead Abbey
.  It was Sir
John who acquired Newstead Abbey,
the former Augustinian priory in Nottinghamshire, in 1540 at the time
of the
dissolution of the monasteries. The line
continued in the 17th century with John Byron, a Royalist supporter
during the
Civil War created the First Baron Byron, and in the 18th century with
brothers William and John Byron:

  • William
    became the 5th Baron Byron in 1736.  He was
    known as the Wicked Lord Byron
    and he descended into madness and scandal
    before his death in 1798.
  • while
    John became a Vice-Admiral in the British navy who
    circumnavigated the world in 1765.  His son
    John, known as “Mad Jack,” died young at the age of thirty five; and
    his grandson
    George, better known as the famous Romantic poet Lord Byron, became the 6th Lord
    Byron in 1798.

the poet’s death in Greece in 1824, the title reverted to his cousin, a
naval officer, and has continued until the current 13th Baron Byron of
today.  The Byron history was recorded in Mark Byron’s 1985 book
The Byron Chronicle.

Ireland.  Luke Byron was a soldier from Yorkshire with
Cromwell who was granted lands in Wexford.
His descendants were to be found in New Ross and Wexford city.  Luke’s great grandson John Byron emigrated to
Nova Scotia in 1816, but died there soon after.

The Byron name was to be found
elsewhere in Ireland in Dublin and Antrim.
It has also cropped up in Roscommon and Tipperary.
Byron here could be a variant spelling of the
Irish Byrne.

America.  There was a Henry Byrum who
came to Essex
county, Virginia from Lancashire as an indentured servant in 1696.  But most Byrons arrived from Ireland not
England and their Byron name may have been an anglicized one.

Joseph Byron from
Wexford came via Nova Scotia where he had been apprenticed to a tanner.  He moved to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1832
where he started a leather tanning business.
This was then continued by his son William who opened new
tanneries in
the 1890’s in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania and Williamsport in western
Maryland. The tannery business continued
in family
hands until financial problems caused the Byrons to sell out in 1976.

In the
interim the Byrons had become involved in Maryland politics.  Three generations of the Byron family were
mayors of Williamsport; two Byron family members died in office as US
Congressmen and were replaced by their wives in “widow mandate” elections; and one Byron
represented Maryland
in both houses of Congress and served as a judge on two federal benches.


Select Byron Miscellany

The Buruns ithat Became Byrons.  Information from the Domesday Book of 1086 would indicate that Ralph and Erneis de Burun were brothers and had come to England at the time of the Norman Conquest
along with their father Michel de Bures.
This family would probably have originated from
Bures near Bayeux in Normandy.

The Byrons of Clayton, Colwick, and Newstead Abbey.  Through the
marriage of Robert de Byron and the heiress Cecilia Clayton at the end
of the
12th century, the Byrons had acquired Clayton Hall near Manchester.  Some hundred years later, through another
marriage to an heiress, they added the larger Nottinghamshire estates
of the
Colwicks to their Lancashire holdings.

a further hundred years the family had made Colwick its chief
residence and it was there that Sir Nicholas Byron made his will in
1503 and
asked to be buried.

grandson Sir John Byron,
known as Little Sir John with the Great Beard, acquired
the Augustinian priory of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire in 1540 at
the time
of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.
He converted the abbey into a private home.
It remained in Byron hands until the poet
Lord Byron, the 6th Lord Byron, was forced to sell it in 1818.

The Wicked Lord Byron.  William Byron,
the 5th Lord Byron, inherited the family estates on the death of his father in
1736.  For many years his life ran on an
even keel until it began a descent into madness and scandal.

In January 1765 Lord Byron killed his cousin and neighbor
William Chaworth in a duel at the Stars and Garters Tavern in London.  The fight resulted from an argument the two
had been engaged in over cups of wine, with both insisting they had
more game
on their estates.  Lord Byron and his
cousin retired to a dim room to resolve their disagreement and it was
that Lord Byron thrust his sword through Chaworth’s stomach.
Chaworth was
mortally wounded and died the following day.

Lord Byron was tried in the House
of Lords for Chaworth’s death, but under an ancient statute was found
only of manslaughter and
to pay just a small fine.  Notwithstanding
virtual acquittal, he was generally regarded by the public as a guilty
man and
everyone stayed clear of him.
Unrepentant, Lord Byron, on returning
home to Newstead Abbey, mounted the sword he used to kill
Chaworth on the wall in his bedroom.  It
was at this time in his life that he was nicknamed “the Wicked Lord,”
a title he very much enjoyed.

old lord seemed to have been a
most spiteful and cantankerous character.
He always carried firearms on his person, being probably rather
tired of
using his sword, and his only companions were two fierce dogs, a
mastiff and a

The ruin of his wealth and
property began when his son and heir eloped with Juliana Byron, the
daughter of
his younger brother.  Lord Byron felt
that intermarrying would produce children plagued with madness and
opposed the union.  When defied by his
son, Lord Byron became enraged and committed himself to ruining his
so that, in the event of his death, his son would receive nothing but
debt and
worthless property.

His vicious plan was thwarted when his son died in
1776.  Lord Byron also outlived his
grandson, a young man who at the age of twenty two was killed by cannon
fire in
1794 while fighting in Corsica.  Instead
it was his great nephew George Gordon Byron, the famous Romantic poet,
became the 6th Baron Byron when Lord Byron died in 1798 at the age of

Lord Byron and Newstead Abbey.  The country folk in Sherwood Forest had detested the Old Lord, the Wicked Lord Byron, and wished that the
Byrons would leave.  There was an old
saying that whenever a vessel freighted with ling should cross Sherwood
then Newstead would pass out of Byron hands.
Ling in the dialect of Nottingham was the name for heather.  With this plant they heaped the fated bark as
it passed so that it would arrive full freighted at Newstead.

poet Lord
Byron inherited the estate in 1798 and was to hold it twenty years.  What had been once an elegant house was by
that time a Gothic ruin.  Lord Byron, however, loved it and spent
much time in
this, his ancestral home.  He kept a
stocked wine cellar, maintained an excellent library, and used both the
Hall and the Dining Room.

he was forced to sell the estate in 1818, he
wrote the following lines of regret on leaving Newstead Abbey:

the hall of my fathers, art gone to
In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle
Have choked up the
rose which once bloomed in the way.
Of the mail-covered barons who,
proudly, to battle
Led thy vassals from Europe to Palestine’s plain,
escutcheon and shield, which with every wind rattle,
Are the only sad vestiges
now that remain.”

Byrons in Office in Maryland.  Two Byron
family members died in office as US Congressmen in Maryland and were
by their wives in “widow mandate” elections.

William Devereux Byron was US Congressman who
represented the 6th
Congressional district of Maryland where he had been elected in 1939
after a
close contest with the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Walter Johnson.  On February 26, 1941, he boarded Eastern
Airlines flight 21 at Washington DC that was bound for Brownsville by
way of
Atlanta. On its approach to Atlanta’s
Chandler Field, the Douglas DC-3 crashed,
killing 9 of the 16 persons on board
including Byron.  His widow Katharine was
elected in a special election to complete his term of office.

son Goodloe
represented the same Congressional district from 1971 until October
1978 when
he died in office from a heart attack.
He was replaced by his widow Beverly in 1979.


Select Byron Names

  • Robert de Byron,
    the Lord of Clayton in Lancashire in the late
    1100’s, was the first to adopt the name of Byron. 
  • Vice Admiral John Byron, known as
    Foul-weather Jack, circumnavigated the world in 1765. 
  • Lord Byron, George Gordon Byron, was the famous Romantic poet of the early 19th century.

Select Byron Numbers Today

  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 3,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


Select Byron and Like Surnames

These are the names of some literary giants.  If you are interested in the name behind the literary figure, please click on the surname below.




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