Butte History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Butte is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was 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 Butte family

The surname Butte 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 Butte family

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

Butte Spelling Variations

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 Butt, But, Butte and others.

Early Notables of the Butte 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 Butte Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Butte family to Ireland

Some of the Butte 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 Butte migration to the United States +

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 Butte or a variant listed above:

Butte Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Butte, who arrived in Virginia in 1643 [6]
Butte Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Henrich Butte, who landed in New York, NY in 1782 [6]
  • Jaques Butte, who arrived in Charles Town, South Carolina in 1782 [6]
Butte Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Friedrich Butte, who arrived in Texas in 1846 [6]


The Butte 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. ^ Lowe, 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. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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