Caxton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Caxton is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Caxton family lived in Cambridgeshire, at Caxton, a market-town and parish, in the union of Caxton and Arrington, hundred of Longstow. "This place, which is one of the oldest post-towns in the county, is situated on the Roman Ermin-street: the buildings are in general irregular and of mean appearance, consisting principally of poor cottages and decayed inns, though there are a few good houses. It has been stated, also, that Caxton, who introduced the art of printing into England, was born in the parish; but his own memoirs refer his birth and education to the county of Kent." [1]

Interestingly, the parish dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was first listed as Causton(e.) [2] And in more recent times, Causton is the fictional site for much of the crime-novel series by author Caroline Graham entitled 'Midsomer Murders.'

Early Origins of the Caxton family

The surname Caxton was first found in Cambridgeshire at Caxton, a market-town and parish, in the union of Caxton and Arrington, hundred of Longstow. "This place, which is one of the oldest post-towns in the county, is situated on the Roman Ermin-street: the buildings are in general irregular and of mean appearance, consisting principally of poor cottages and decayed inns, though there are a few good houses. It has been stated, also, that Caxton, who introduced the art of printing into England, was born in the parish; but his own memoirs refer his birth and education to the county of Kent." [1]

The Manor of Caustone was held by Hardwin of Scales in 1086, from whom the Caxtons are conjecturally descended. [2] The village of Causton, or Caxton, is on Roman Ermine Street and was once a coaching village.

Important Dates for the Caxton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Caxton research. Another 232 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1273, 1335, 1422, 1400, 1500, 1422, 1491, 1354, 1880, 1474 and 1478 are included under the topic Early Caxton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Caxton 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 Caxton, Caxtone, Cackston, Cackstone, Cacstone, Caxten, Caxtan and many more.

Early Notables of the Caxton family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Caxton (1422-1491), the first English printer and first to introduce a printing press into England. Copies of his Canterbury Tales by Chaucer is kept in the British Library and the text is viewable online. He "was born, he himself states, ‘in Kent in the Weeld’. The name was usually pronounced Cauxton, and often written Causton, and Kentish antiquaries connect Caxton's family with the Caustons or Caxtons who held a manor of the same name near Hadlow in the Weald of Kent in the thirteenth century. Before the fifteenth century the manor had...
Another 150 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Caxton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Caxton 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 Caxton or a variant listed above:

Caxton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Bryan Caxton, who settled in Maryland in 1678

Contemporary Notables of the name Caxton (post 1700)

  • William Caxton (1422-1491), English printer

Citations

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
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