But History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The proud Norman name of But was developed in England soon after Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was name for a nickname for the Middle English word butt meaning "thicker end" or "stump," in other words a name for a thickset person. Alternatively the name could have been derived from the Middle English word "butt" or the Old French word "but" which both meant a target or mark for archery. In this latter case, the name would be ascribed to one who lived near archery butts or perhaps an archer. 
Saint Buite (d. 521), was the son of Bronach, and was descended from Tadhg, son of Cian, and therefore belonged to the Cianachta. "Buite, with sixty companions, set out for the country of the Picts of Scotland. Here King Nectan, whom he is reported to have raised from the dead, bestowed on him the castrum or fort in which he lived, and the memory of the gift is perpetuated in the name of the place Carbuddo (Cathair-Buiti), near Dun-Nechtain, now Dunnichen, in Forfar. Crossing over Scotland, he reached the Irish Sea, and embarking arrived at Dalriada, in the north of the county of Antrim, the territory of the Cruithni, or Picts of Ireland, of the same race as those among whom he had been labouring. Here having, we are told, raised the king's daughter from the dead, he received a gift of land, on which he built a church." 
Early Origins of the But family
The surname But was first found in the village named Butt in Normandy where William Bot was listed in 1195-1198 . Another source claims the name was derived from "the name of several places in the arrondissement of Falaise."  The earliest records of the name in England include Robertus filius But who was listed in 1137 and Godlambus filius But who was listed in Norfolk in 1133-1160.  A few years later, Walter Botte was listed in Oxfordshire in the Rotulus Pipe Rolls in 1189  and Roger But who was Viscount of Southampton in 1203 (Magn. Rotulus).
Much further to the north, the Isle of Bute is in the county of Bute, in the Frith of Clyde. 
Early History of the But family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our But research. Another 62 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1203, 1486, 1545, 1684, 1748, 1733, 1738, 1738 and 1748 are included under the topic Early But History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
But Spelling Variations
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name But have been found, including Butt, But, Butte and others.
Early Notables of the But family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir William Butts (c.1486-1545), a member of King Henry VIII of England's court who served as the King's physician.
Robert Butts (1684-1748), was bishop successively of Norwich 1733-1738, and of Ely 1738-1748...
Migration of the But family to Ireland
Some of the But family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name But were among those contributors:
But Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
But Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
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: Possunt quia posse videntur
Motto Translation: They conquer who believe they can