Show ContentsPilkington History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Pilkington family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Pilkington comes from when the family lived in Pilkington, a manor in the parish of Prestwick, Lancashire. There seems to be two early distinct entries of the various derivations of the name: William Pylk who was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1303; Peter Pylke who was listed in the Sussex Rolls of 1332 and from these an early Old English entry of Pileca which while being unrecorded was nevertheless found in Pilkington Lancashire. The other distinct origin included Alexander de Pilkington de Pilkington in 1205; and John Pylkyngton in 1470. Both origins point to the aforementioned town in Lancashire. [1]

Early Origins of the Pilkington family

The surname Pilkington was first found in Lancashire at Pilkington, a township in the parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham, hundred of Salford. This distinguished Saxon family held a family seat in Lancashire since before the Norman invasion, traditionally escaping after the Battle of Hastings by posing as a thresher and hiding in a barn under hay and the flail hit first on one side and then the other, hence their motto 'Now thus, now thus' and the Family Crest of a mower." [2]

However, Shirley presumes that "the more probable scene of this event, where four knights of the family were in arms on the part of Richard III [at the Battle of Bosworth.]" Shirley continues, "A right ancient family, gentlemen of repute in the county before the Conquest." [3]

Another source phrases the early family history similarly: "A branch of the Pilkington family early became the principal proprietors, and few families in the county are more closely interwoven with its history than the members of this knightly house. The battle of Bosworth-Field proved almost as fatal to the fortunes of the parent stock of the Pilkingtons, as to the power of the royal tyrant Richard: and in the grant made by Henry VII. under the great seal, to Thomas, Earl of Derby, of divers manors and lands in Lancashire, forfeited by Sir Thomas Pilkington, was this manor. " [4]

The ecclesiastical district of Stand in Lancashire was home to another ancient branch of the family. "An old Hall of the Pilkington family, generally known as Stand Hall, whence the place derived its name, existed so recently as 1845, when it was taken down: on the foundation stone was the date 1518. This structure was erected by the Earl of Derby, to whom the manor of Pilkington had been granted by Henry VII. after the battle of BosworthField; and the building is traditionally reported to have been five stories high, but reduced many years ago to its late elevation of three stories, the highest of the three being elaborately ornamented by the crests of the earls of Derby, the eagle and child, and the legs of Man." [4]

Gilbert Pilkington (fl. 1350) was the reputed author of 'The Tournament of Tottenham,' a burlesque in verse. He is thought to have also written 'The Feest' the perhaps 'The Story of Robin Hood and Little John.' [5]

Early History of the Pilkington family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pilkington research. Another 192 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1520, 1527, 1561, 1562, 1564, 1565, 1568, 1576, 1599, 1631, 1638 and 1691 are included under the topic Early Pilkington History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pilkington Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Pilkington has appeared include Pilkington, Pilkinton and others.

Early Notables of the Pilkington family

Distinguished members of the family include

  • James Pilkington (1520-1576), Bishop of Durham from 1561 until 1576; Leonard Pilkington (1527-1599) was an English academic and clergyman, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge (1561-1562), Master...
  • Richard Pilkington (1568-1631) was a Protestant Controversialist and was probably a nephew of James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham. Sir Thomas Pilkington (died 1691), was Lord Mayor of London, son of Th...

Pilkington Ranking

In the United States, the name Pilkington is the 5,298th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Pilkington family to Ireland

Some of the Pilkington family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Pilkington migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Pilkington arrived in North America very early:

Pilkington Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Pilkington, who settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Margaret Pilkington and her husband, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • William Pilkington, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [7]
  • Margret Pilkington, aged 23, who landed in Maryland in 1684 [7]
Pilkington Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Pilkington, who arrived in Virginia in 1713 [7]
Pilkington Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry W Pilkington, who landed in America in 1811 [7]
  • Edward Pilkington, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 [7]
  • Robert Pilkington, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844 [7]
  • Docter, Adam, Jonathon, Joseph, Lawrence, and William Pilkington, who all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

Australia Pilkington migration to Australia +

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

Pilkington Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Pilkington, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 29th April 1828, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Anne Pilkington, aged 50, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Agincourt" [9]
  • William Pilkington, aged 28, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo" [10]
  • Richard Pilkington, aged 19, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Agincourt"
  • Jane Pilkington, aged 15, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Agincourt"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Pilkington 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:

Pilkington Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Michael Pilkington, aged 33, a skinner, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Anne Pilkington, aged 29, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Mr. Edmond Pilkington, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Gertrude" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th February 1863 [11]
  • Edmond Pilkington, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1863 [12]

Contemporary Notables of the name Pilkington (post 1700) +

  • Jackie Pilkington, known as Irish Jackie Pilkington, American professional boxer in the Lightweight division
  • Charles Francis "Charlie" Pilkington (b. 1897), nicknamed The Meridan Flash, American Featherweight professional boxer, older brother of "Irish" Jackie Pilkington
  • J. E. Pilkington, American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates from Baltimore city 3rd District, 1865-66 [13]
  • Brian Pilkington (b. 1933), English footballer who played from 1951 to 1971, member of the England National Team in 1954
  • Matthew Pilkington (1701-1774), English author of a standard text on painters, known as Pilkington's Dictionary
  • Mark Pilkington (b. 1973), English writer, publisher, curator and musician
  • Joel Thomas Pilkington (b. 1984), English footballer who currently plays for Ramsbottom United
  • James Pilkington, English BAFTA Award nominated film director
  • William Henry "Harry" Pilkington (1905-1983), Baron Pilkington, an English glass manufacturer and former President of the Federation of British Industries, Chancellor of Loughborough University from 1966 to 1980
  • Daniel Luke "Danny" Pilkington (b. 1990), English semi-professional footballer
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Pilkington, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Harold Pilkington (d. 1939), British Petty Officer Stoker with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]

  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. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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)
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th April 2021). Retrieved from
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The AGINCOURT 1850. Retrieved from
  10. South Australian Register Thursday 23rd November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Dirigo 1854. Retrieved
  11. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  12. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th December 2018). Retrieved from
  13. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 15) . Retrieved from
  14. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from
  15. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook