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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Shelton surname lived in the township of Shelton found in five counties in England. Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Salop and Staffordshire all had townships by the name of Shelton. This place-name was originally derived by the Old English elements scylf and tun, which denoted a ledge or plateau in the landscape.

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The surname Shelton was first found in Norfolk at Shelton, a parish, in the union and hundred of Defwade. "This place was anciently the property of the Sheltons, who were owners of the Hall, a castellated structure long since pulled down. From that family the estate passed to Sir Robert Houghton, one of the justices of the king's bench." [1] Some of the family held estates in Great Snoring, Norfolk. "The living is a rectory, with that of Thursford annexed, valued in the king's books at £24, and in the gift of St. John's College, Cambridge: the tithes have been commuted for £539, and the glebe comprises 37 acres, with a house, erected by Sir Richard Shelton. The church is a good structure in the later English style, with a lofty embattled tower, and contains some ancient monuments and brasses to the Shelton and other families." [1]

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Shelton are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Shelton include: Shelton, Sheltone and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shelton research. Another 125 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1460, 1529, 1475, 1555, 1476, 1539, 1705, 1537, 1604 and 1579 are included under the topic Early Shelton History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 195 words (14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shelton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Shelton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Shelton or a variant listed above:

Shelton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Richard and Francis Shelton who settled in Virginia in 1638
  • Fr Shelton, who arrived in Virginia in 1638
  • Rich Shelton, who arrived in Virginia in 1638
  • Fra Shelton, who landed in Virginia in 1654
  • Symon Shelton, who arrived in Virginia in 1658


Shelton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Sarah Shelton, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Susanna Shelton, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Anne Shelton, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Henry Shelton settled in Maryland in 1732
  • Samuel and Esther Shelton settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1765 with Hannah

Shelton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • William Shelton, aged 33, arrived in New York in 1812
  • James Shelton, who landed in New York, NY in 1834
  • G W Shelton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • S W Shelton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • V. B. Shelton settled in San Francisco, California in 1852


Shelton Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Luke Shelton, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Shelton Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • L R Shelton, who arrived in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

Shelton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Shelton, English convict from Leicester, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Daniel Shelton, English convict from Sussex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • William Shelton arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Singapore" in 1839
  • John Shelton, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo"
  • Eliza Shelton, aged 26, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo"


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  • James Alan Shelton (1960-2014), American bluegrass guitarist who performed with the Clinch Mountain Boys
  • John W. Shelton (1928-2014), American businessman and politician, Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1996 to 2004
  • Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton (1810-1888), American sweetheart of Edgar Allan Poe who became engaged to him shortly before his death in 1849
  • Richard Shelton (b. 1933), American writer, poet and emeritus Regents Professor of English at the University of Arizona
  • George Matthew Shelton (1877-1949), American Medal of Honor recipient
  • Deborah "Debbie" Shelton (b. 1948), American beauty queen and actress, best known for her work on "Dallas"
  • Chris Shelton (b. 1980), American Major League Baseball player
  • Josť Caminero y Shelton, American politician, Honorary Consul for Cuba at San Juan, P.R., 1911
  • Barrett Shelton Sr., American Democrat politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Alabama, 1972
  • Barrett C. Shelton, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Alabama, 1936

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  • Sheldons at Bicentennial by Keith M. Sheldon.
  • Descendants of Jessee Shelton and Some Related Families by Cecil Shelton.
  • Ralph Shelton Family in Early Virginia by Frank H. Shelton.
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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Shelton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shelton 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 30 May 2016 at 14:23.

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