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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Clayton family come from? What is the English Clayton family crest and coat of arms? When did the Clayton family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Clayton family history?

Clayton is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Clayton family lived in one of the many parishes by the name of Clayton in Staffordshire, Sussex, the West Riding of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Cloughton is a small village and civil parish in North Yorkshire.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Clayton, Claydon, Clawton, Claughton and others.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clayton research. Another 257 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1632, 1689, 1677, 1684, 1685, 1676, 1665, 1676, 1612, 1693, 1629 and 1707 are included under the topic Early Clayton History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 133 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clayton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Clayton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Clayton or a variant listed above:

Clayton Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Barnaby Clayton, who came to Massachusetts sometime between 1628 and 1629
  • Tho Clayton, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Richard Clayton who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Richard Clayton, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Thomas Clayton settled in Austin, Rhode Island, in 1650

Clayton Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • William Clayton, who landed in New England in 1714
  • Francis Clayton, who arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1790

Clayton Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas B Clayton, aged 20, arrived in New York in 1812
  • H Clayton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • F Clayton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851


  • Buck Clayton (1911-1991), American jazz trumpet player who was a leading member of Count Basie’s "Old Testament" orchestra
  • John Middleton Clayton (1796-1856), American statesman
  • Bertram Tracy Clayton (1862-1918), U.S. congressmen and U.S. Army officer killed in World War I
  • Henry DeLamar Clayton (1827-1889), Confederate officer and Alabama legislator
  • Henry De Lamar Clayton Jr. (1857-1929), US Congressman from Alabama
  • John M. Clayton (1796-1856), lawyer, U.S. senator from Delaware and U.S. Secretary of State
  • Joshua Clayton (1744-1798), physician, governor and U.S. senator from Delaware
  • Thomas Clayton (1777-1854), lawyer and U.S. senator from Delaware
  • William L. Clayton (1880-1966), U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for economic affairs
  • Sir Gareth Clayton (1914-1992), English RAF Air Marshall



  • The Normans, 1720-1976, and Information on the Walker, Clayton and Weir Families of Mississippi by Maggie Laurie Carson.
  • The Quaker Yeomen: A Genealogy of Clayton, Reynolds, Beals, Brown and Descended Related Lines by James E. Bellarts.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Probitatum quam divitias
Motto Translation: Probity rather than riches.


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  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  3. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  7. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The Clayton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Clayton Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 15 October 2014 at 18:41.

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