Drayton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Drayton family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found in one of the many places called Drayton, or in the settlement of Dreyton in Devon. The reason for the multitude of place names is because the place name literally means "farmstead at or near a portage or slope used for dragging down loads," from the Old English words "draeg" + "tun." [1]

Exploring Drayton-in-Hales, or Market-Drayton in Shropshire for a moment, we found "Nennius endeavours to identify this place with the Caer Draithon of the Britons, enumerating it as one of the principal cities belonging to that people; and the correctness of his opinion has not been arraigned by any succeeding writer. It is evident from the discovery of the foundations of several houses in the adjoining fields, that the town anciently occupied a more extended site than it does at present. In the record of Domesday it is mentioned by the name Draitune. The manor was successively in the possession of the abbot of St. Ebrulph, in Normandy, and the abbot of Combermere, in Cheshire." [2]

Early Origins of the Drayton family

The surname Drayton was first found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 where Matilda de Drayton, Cambridgeshire; and Beatrix He Draytone, Huntingdonshire, were both listed as holding lands that time. A few years later, Richard de Drayton, was listed as bailiff of Yarmouth, Norfolk in 1284. [3]

Later in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes de Drayton; Willelmus de Draghton; and Robertas de Draghton. [4]

Early History of the Drayton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Drayton research. Another 89 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1563, 1631, 1376, 1363, 1369, 1376, 1563, 1631 and 1604 are included under the topic Early Drayton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Drayton Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Drayton include Drayton, Draydon, Draton, Dradon and others.

Early Notables of the Drayton family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Nicholas de Drayton ( fl. 1376), English ecclesiastic and judge, appointed warden of King's College, Cambridge, on 1 Dec. 1363, with a salary of fourpence a day, and an allowance of eight marcs per annum for robes. In 1369 he was suspected of heresy, and the Bishop of London was authorised to commit him to prison (20 March). In 1376 he was appointed a Baron of the Exchequer. The date of his death is uncertain. He is commonly described as 'magister.' [5] Michael Drayton (1563-1631), the English poet, was born at Hartshill, near Atherstone, Warwickshire...
Another 121 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Drayton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Drayton migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Drayton or a variant listed above:

Drayton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Drayton, who landed in Maine in 1642 [6]
  • Anne Drayton who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • Thomas Drayton, who landed in North Carolina in 1671 [6]
  • Thomas Drayton, who settled in Barbados with his servants in 1680
Drayton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Thomas Drayton, who arrived in America in 1811 [6]
  • G Drayton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]

Australia Drayton migration to Australia +

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

Drayton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Drayton, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Diadem" in 1840 [7]
  • Priscilla Drayton, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Diadem" in 1840 [7]
  • John Drayton, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [8]
  • Joseph Drayton, aged 30, a gardener, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Norman"

New Zealand Drayton migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Drayton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Drayton, (b. 1857), aged 1 year 6 months, English settler from Nottinghamshire travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1858 [9]
  • Mr. Alfred Drayton, (b. 1830), aged 28, English blacksmith from Nottinghamshire travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1858 [9]
  • Mrs. Ann Drayton, (b. 1837), aged 21, English settler from Nottinghamshire travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1858 [9]
  • Mr. George Drayton, (b. 1837), aged 21, English blacksmith from Nottinghamshire travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Zealandia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1858 [9]
  • Charlotte Drayton, aged 39, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waimea" in 1876
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Drayton (post 1700) +

  • Henry Shipton Drayton (1840-1923), American physician and phrenologist
  • Ronny Drayton, well-known American guitarist
  • Troy Anthony Drayton (b. 1970), former professional American football tight end
  • Stan Drayton, American football coach
  • Grace Drayton (1877-1936), American illustrator
  • Paul Drayton (1939-2010), American Olympic athlete and winner of a gold medal
  • William Drayton (1732-1790), American lawyer and jurist
  • Buster Drayton (b. 1952), American professional boxer
  • John Drayton (1766-1822), American politician, 40th Governor of South Carolina
  • William "Bill" Drayton (b. 1943), American social entrepreneur
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Page, William (ed), A History of the County of Norfolk. London: Victoria County History, 1906. Print
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. 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)
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The barque DIADEM 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Diadem.htm
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1849
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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