Show ContentsApton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Apton. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Apton family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Apton is a local type of surname and the Apton family lived in Cornwall, in the village of Upton. which literally means "higher farmstead or village," from the Old English words "upp" + "tun." [1]

Early Origins of the Apton family

The surname Apton was first found in Cornwall at Upton, a hamlet that dates at least back to the Domesday Book of 1086. [1]

"The manor of Trelaske [in the parish of Lewannick, Cornwall] belonged to the Upton family prior to the Reformation ; but in the reign of Henry VIII. it was carried by co-heiresses to two brothers of the Lower family." [2]

While there are numerous place so named in England, it is in this area where "an ancient Cornish family, said to have been originally of Upton, in that county, or, according to Prince in his Worthies of Devon, named from Upton in parish of Collumpton in Devonshire." [3]

Another reference postulates: "they were probably descended from Ralph Fitz-Stephen temp. Henry II, and from the arms appears to be of De la Folie of Normandy." [4]

Early History of the Apton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Apton research. Another 126 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1080, 1218, 1308, 1620, 1400, 1457, 1453, 1590, 1641, 1625, 1641, 1687, 1670, 1749, 1670, 1598, 1623, 1706, 1623, 1599, 1653 and 1661 are included under the topic Early Apton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Apton Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Upton, Uppeton and others.

Early Notables of the Apton family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Nicholas Upton (1400?-1457), Precentor of Salisbury and writer on heraldry and the art of war. He is thought to have been the second son of John Upton of Portlinch, Devonshire, by his wife Elizabeth. From a collateral branch of the family, descended Arthur Upton. [5] John Upton (died c.1453), was an English politician, Member of...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Apton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Apton family to Ireland

Some of the Apton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 136 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Apton family

An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Apton or a variant listed above: John Upton settled in Virginia in 1623; Thomas Upton settled in Georgia with his wife in 1680; Martha Upton settled in Virginia in 1700; Elizabeth Upton and her husband settled in Carolina in 1724.

The Apton Motto +

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: Semper paratus
Motto Translation: Always prepared.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. 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)
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook