Butson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Butson is part of the ancient legacy of the early Norman inhabitants that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Butson was a Norman name used 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. [1]

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." [2]

Early Origins of the Butson family

The surname Butson was first found in the village named Butt in Normandy where William Bot was listed in 1195-1198 [3]. Another source claims the name was derived from "the name of several places in the arrondissement of Falaise." [4] 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. [1] A few years later, Walter Botte was listed in Oxfordshire in the Rotulus Pipe Rolls in 1189 [3] 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. [5]

Early History of the Butson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Butson 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 Butson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Butson Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Butt, But, Butte and others.

Early Notables of the Butson 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...
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Butson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Butson family to Ireland

Some of the Butson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Butson migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Butson name or one of its variants:

Butson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Butson, (b. 1840), aged Infant, English settler departing from England aboard the ship "Royal Adelaide" arriving in the United States on 21st April 1840 [6]

Australia Butson migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Butson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Butson, (b. 1811), aged 21 born in St. Agnes, Cornwall, UK convicted in Bodmin on 3rd July 1832, sentenced for 14 years for breaking and entering, transported aboard the ship "Circassian" in 1832 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [7]
  • Mr. James Butson (b. 1811), aged 21, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 3rd July 1832, sentenced for 14 years breaking and entering a shop and stealing shoes and other articles and breaking and entering a second shop and stealing various articles and tin from a mine, transported aboard the ship "Circassian" on 4th October 1832 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [8]
  • Mr. James Butson, Cornish convict who was convicted in Cornwall, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Circassian" on 4th November 1832, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. John Butson (b. 1802), aged 27, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 22nd March 1833, sentenced for life, transported aboard the ship "Neva" on 27th July 1833 to New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Samuel Butson, (b. 1832), aged 21, Cornish farm labourer, from Cubert, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Ellenborough" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 12th October 1853 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Butson (post 1700) +

  • Colonel Arthur Richard Cecil Butson GC, OMM, CD and Bar (1922-2015), Chinese-born, Canadian explorer and physician, recipient of the George Cross, the Polar Medal and Albert Medal for his Antarctic rescue of a fellow explorer
  • Christopher Henry Gould Butson (d. 1892), eminent Irish Anglican priest, Dean of Kilmacduagh (1874-1892)
  • Matthew Butson, New Zealand three-time gold medalist Paralympic alpine skier

The Butson 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: Possunt quia posse videntur
Motto Translation: They conquer who believe they can

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/tasmanian_convicts_cornish.pdf
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  9. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 8th February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/circassian)
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1850_59.pdf

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