Fenton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Fenton surname lived in the region of Fenton. The surname Fenton originally derived from the Old English words Fenne and Tun which referred to an enclosed region by a dyke. There are numerous listings of this local name: a township near Carlisle, Cumberland; a chapelry in the parish of Beckingham, Lincoln; and a hamlet in the parish of Kettlethorpe, Lincoln.

Early Origins of the Fenton family

The surname Fenton was first found in Yorkshire where the Gilbert de Fenton was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. The same rolls included: Robert de Fenton, Lincolnshire; and Thomas de Fenton, Devon. [1]

Ralph de Fenton, was Rector of Warham, Norfolk in 1358 [2] and the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Ricardus de Fenton; Johannes de Fenton; and Robertus de Fenton as all holdings lands there at that time. [1]

Early History of the Fenton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fenton research. Another 38 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1261, 1539, 1608, 1603, 1565, 1615, 1565, 1601, 1603, 1683, 1730, 1683, 1694 and are included under the topic Early Fenton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fenton Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Fenton are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Fenton include: Fenton, Fentun, Fentoun, Fentown, Fentoune and many more.

Early Notables of the Fenton family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Geoffrey Fenton (c.1539-1608), English writer and Privy Councillor (government advisor) from Nottinghamshire. His brother Edward Fenton (d. 1603), English navigator, helped discovery the Northwest passage. They were sons of Henry Fenton of Fenton, in the parish of Sturton (formerly Stretton-le-Steeple), Nottinghamshire, and of Cecily, daughter of John Beaumont of Coleorton, Leicestershire. " Like his brother, Sir Geoffrey Fenton, he sold his hereditary patrimony, preferring the life of a soldier of fortune to the prospect of ending his days in the ignominious ease of his ancestral home." [3] Roger Fenton (1565-1615), was...
Another 99 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fenton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fenton World Ranking

In the United States, the name Fenton is the 1,960th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [4] However, in Australia, the name Fenton is ranked the 819th most popular surname with an estimated 4,803 people with that name. [5] And in New Zealand, the name Fenton is the 649th popular surname with an estimated 1,107 people with that name. [6] The United Kingdom ranks Fenton as 734th with 9,144 people. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Fenton family to Ireland

Some of the Fenton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Fenton migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Fenton or a variant listed above:

Fenton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Fenton, who settled in Virginia in 1606
  • James Fenton purchased land in Virginia in 1623
  • Henry Fenton received a land grant in Virginia in 1638
  • Henry Fenton, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [8]
  • Jane Fenton, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fenton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Benj Fenton, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [8]
  • Anne Fenton, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [8]
  • Anne Fenton, who settled in Virginia in 1705
  • Thomas and William Fenton arrived at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1760
  • Bartholomew Fenton, a convict sent to America in 1770
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fenton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Geo Fenton, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [8]
  • Ann Fenton, who settled in New York, NY in 1821
  • Alexr. Fenton, who arrived in New York in 1831
  • David Fenton, who landed in New York in 1832 [8]
  • Samuel Fenton, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1847 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fenton Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Anna Rebecca Fenton, who arrived in Illinois in 1952

Canada Fenton migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Fenton Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Sarah Fenton, who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1775
  • Mary Fenton, aged 9, who landed in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1775
  • Sarah Fenton, aged 15, who landed in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1775
  • Mr. Jacob Fenton U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [9]
Fenton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Fenton, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • Honiara Fenton, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1831
  • James Fenton, aged 23, a smith, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Providence" from Cork, Ireland
  • William Fenton, who arrived in Canada in 1836
  • Robert Fenton, who landed in Canada in 1836
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Fenton migration to Australia +

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

Fenton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Fenton, (Randal, Dalpain), British Convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Charles Fenton, English convict from Warwick, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [11]
  • Edmund Fenton, aged 40, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Flora" [12]
  • Dennis Fenton, aged 31, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Flora" [12]
  • Michael Fenton, aged 29, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Flora" [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Fenton 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:

Fenton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W.H . Fenton, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1844
  • Mr. Frank Fenton, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bank of England" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 10th October 1850 [13]
  • H.Fenton, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bank of England" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 10th October 1850 [13]
  • Mr. James Fenton, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 14th October 1860 [13]
  • Mr. Robert Fenton, (b. 1840), aged 23, British labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship " Lancashire Witch" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 13th October 1863 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Fenton migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [14]
Fenton Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mary Fenton, who arrived in Barbados in 1690
Fenton Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Fenton, who settled in Antigua (Antego) in 1738

Contemporary Notables of the name Fenton (post 1700) +

  • Reuben Eaton Fenton (1819-1885), American merchant and politician, 22nd Governor of New York (1865-1868), United States Senator from New York (1869-1875), eponym of Fenton, New York
  • Carroll Lane Fenton (1900-1969), American geologist, paleontologist, neoichnologist, and historian of science
  • Mildred Adams Fenton (1899-1995), American paleontologist and geologist
  • Elizabeth Fenton, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 2000 [15]
  • Daniel G. Fenton, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Wisconsin State Senate 3rd District, 1848 [15]
  • Charles W. Fenton, American politician, U.S. Consul in Southampton, 1849-50 [15]
  • Charles B. Fenton, American politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Mackinac District, 1867-68, 1871-72 [15]
  • Barbara Ann Fenton, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Rhode Island, 2012 [15]
  • Aubrey Fenton, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 2008 [15]
  • Arthur Fenton, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kansas, 1924 [15]
  • ... (Another 42 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Walter Fenton (1886-1914), English First Class Passenger from Manchester, England, United Kingdom who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [16]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. John Fenton, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Elba Fenton, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. William Fenton, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. Alfred C Fenton, British Leading Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [18]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Colin Stanley Moorhouse Fenton, English Deck Engineer from Sheffield, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [19]


The Fenton 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: Gwell angau na gwarth
Motto Translation: Death before disgrace.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  11. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  12. ^ South Australian Register Monday 9th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Flora 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/flora1855.shtml
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  16. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  17. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  18. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  19. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 10) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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