Shelton Surname Genealogy

The English Shelton surname
derived from the place-name Shelton that was to be found in
Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Shropshire and Staffordshire.
The root of the name was the Old English scylf,
meaning “shelf” or
“ledge,” and tun, meaning

Shelton Resources on

Shelton Ancestry

Shelton place-name near Long Stratton in Norfolk provided an early
Shelton family.

.  John de Shelton, born
around 1140, was the
first lord of the manor of Shelton.  It
was said that Nicholas de Shelton was among those barons presenting the
Carta to King John in 1216; while Ralph Shelton was knighted for his
on the field of battle at Crecy in 1346.

By the Tudor period Sheltons were
living at Shelton Hall in
(long since demolished) and at the manor house at Great Snoring (still
standing). Sir
John Shelton and his wife Anne were entrusted with the custody of
the Princesses
Mary and Elizabeth as children, partly because Anne was the aunt
of Queen
Anne Boleyn and the mother of Mary Shelton, said to have been the
of Henry VIII during his marriage to Anne.

Hugh Astley in his 1908 book Memorials of Old Norfolk
has suggested
the following:

“John Skelton, poet laureate in Tudor times, may well
have been
of the Shelton family.  The poet had a
Norfolk background and the names of Shelton and Skelton seem to have
been used
indiscriminately at that time.”

The Sheltons were never so close to the English throne
  Sir Ralph Shelton, the 26th in the
line of these Sheltons, was the last to live at Shelton Hall.  He died in a battle off the coast of France
in 1628, leaving no children.  However,
were related Shelton lines established in Ireland and, later possibly,

Elsewhere.  The Sheltons
have left little footprint in Norfolk.
There were only 21 Sheltons recorded in Norfolk by the time of
the 1881

The largest number at that time, representing 14% of all Sheltons in
England, was in Nottinghamshire.  That
county had its own Shelton place-name, in the south of the county near
and John de Shelton first held the manor there.
The manor later passed into other hands, but the Sheldon surname

Shelton lines in the proximity of Nottingham in the 18th century began
the following marriages:

  • that of Robert Shelton and Sarah White at Stoke
    Bardolph in 1780
  • that of William Shelton and Sarah Lee at Attenborough in
  • and that of William Shelton and Martha Slack at Gedling
    in 1784.

Sheltons have
been recorded at Gedling since the 1600’s.

From Nottinghamshire, the Shelton
name extended across the Midlands into Leicestershire, Derbyshire,
Warwickshire, and Staffordshire.
Benjamin Shelton married Esther Langston in Wolverhampton,
in 1774.

Ireland.  John Shelton from Norfolk
came to Ireland and
was the Mayor of Dublin in 1537.  His son
Henry was its Sheriff in 1579 and his grandson John was to have been
the Mayor
in 1604, but was denied because he was a Catholic.
Thomas Shelton, possibly his brother, was
educated in Spain and arranged for Cervantes’ Don Quixote
to be published in an English translation in London in

Sheltons were also to be found in the Castletown area of county
from the early 1700’s.  Captain John
Shelton fought with the Royal Dragoons of Ireland under Marlborough
(and he died
in Belgium); while a later Captain John Shelton fought under Wellington
in the
Peninsular Wars and at Waterloo (where he was severely wounded but

Their Limerick home was Rossmore House.  The
Rev. Grantley Shelton was an Anglican
minister there in the 1850’s.
Interestingly, there were also Catholic Sheltons living in the

America.  The main Shelton influx
into America was
through Virginia.  The first here was
Captain James Shelton who arrived in Jamestown in 1610, but later
departed for
Bermuda where he died in 1668.

Some of the early arrivals – from the 1630’s to the 1660’s –
came as indentured servants.  It was hard
to keep track of them – their spellings often shifting around between
Skelton, Chilton, and other similar-sounding names.
However, it was not the case, as some have suggested,
that they all come from one source.

John Chilton had arrived in Northampton
county in 1666 and later moved to Westmoreland county where he built
plantation house Currioman.  This
home remained with his Chilton

The origins of John Shelton who built the
plantation house Rural
in Hanover county are uncertain.

to family lore, John and two brothers came
to America together, with John settling in Virginia and another brother
to New England.  That version of the
family has never been possible to prove.”

His son John inherited Rural Plains on John’s death in
1725.  A line through another son David
led to Colonel Joseph and Major Thomas Shelton, brothers who both
fought in the
Revolutionary War.

Shelton had been born in Middlesex county, Virginia around 1685.  During his lifetime he moved to Essex, Amelia,
Louisa and then to Pittsylvania county where he died in 1771.  One line of his descendants migrated to North
Carolina, Tennessee, and later to Arkansas.

“Edmond Shelton, born in 1827, married in
Tennessee, and then
brought his wife and four children to Arkansas
where they got malaria and all died.
Edmund remarried and had more children.
In the Civil War he fought in the Confederate army, was captured
by the
Yankees, and died in prison.”

The line from Jeremiah
Shelton, born around 1740 in Amelia county, led to his son Jeremiah who
to Kentucky sometime in the 1790’s.  His
family was the subject of Kenneth Shelton’s 1987 book The
Shelton Trek Across Kentucky

A line out of Louisa county led to David Shelton who came to Talbot
county, Georgia in the 1830’s.  His
plantation was soon one of the largest in Georgia, with 90 slaves
there in 1850.  Then there were the
descendants of Thomas Shelton who left Louisa county for North Carolina
then to Georgia and Texas.

Some Virginia Sheltons departed for Alabama:

  • John
    Shelton married Carolina Messer in Virginia around 1810 and they moved
    Jackson county, Alabama in 1833.  
  • George
    Shelton who had married Jane Johnston in Virginia in 1820 had already
    left for
    Fayette county, Alabama in 1824.  After
    George’s death in 1857, Jane moved the family from Alabama to Arkansas.

African American.  Sheltons
were plantation owners and slave
holders in the South and the Shelton numbers were boosted by slaves or
slaves adopting the Shelton name.  One
such was Pollard Shelton who was born a slave in North Carolina and
became free
in Alabama.  Frederick Shelton had been a
slave in Arkansas who lived long enough to have his reminiscences
recorded in
the 1930’s. 

Elsewhere.  Daniel Shelton was first
recorded as a
merchant in Stratford, Connecticut in 1687.

to family tradition, Daniel Shelton was sailing in his own ship when it
wrecked off the coast of Connecticut, cut off by the Indians and
prevented from
returning to his people in Virginia.”

The Shelton name has been perpetuated in Stratford.
One part of the town is named Shelton after a
descendant, Edward Shelton, who founded the Ousatonic Water Power
Company and
started the Shelton Company there

Shelton was an early name in Jamaican
history.  John Shelton received a land
grant from Charles II in Jamaica in 1674.
A generation later his grandson, also named John, bought
lands in St. Ann parish to make a large sugar plantation which he named
Richmond Estate.  This estate was sold in

Australia.  Early Shelton
arrivals in Australia were convicts:

  • William
    Shelton from Limerick in Ireland who was transported on the Andromeda
    to Sydney in 1830
  • and Thomas Shelton from
    Nottinghamshire who
    was transported on the Circassian to
    Tasmania in 1832.

Shelton Miscellany

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

Shelton Names

Sir John Shelton was a powerful Tudor courtier during the reign
of Henry VIII.

Shelton was a
large landowner and banker in Texas
after the Civil War.
Anne Shelton
born Patricia Sibley, was a popular English singer for soldiers during
Second World War

Select Sheltons Today

  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Nottinghamshire)
  • 35,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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