Portlan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Portlan family

The surname Portlan was first found in Dorset at the Isle of Portland, a limestone tied island, 6 kilometers (4 mi) long by 2.4 kilometers (1.5 mi) wide, in the English Channel. The island was first listed as simply Port in the 9th century, but by 862 it was listed as Portlande and later as Porland in the Domesday Book of 1086. [1]

Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Portland, held by the King's steward who was recorded in the Domesday Book. It is generally believed that the island has been inhabited since at least the Mesolithic period as there is archaeological evidence of Mesolithic inhabitants at the Culverwell Mesolithic Site.

Historically it has been a great source of limestone as Sir Christopher Wren, the architect and Member of Parliament for nearby Weymouth, used six million tons of white Portland limestone to rebuild destroyed parts of London after the Great Fire of London of 1666.

Porlock is a parish and small port, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Williton, hundred of Carhampton in Somerset. "This place, which derives its name from the Saxon Portlocan, 'an inclosed harbour,' is of considerable antiquity, having been a residence of the West Saxon kings, who had an extensive chase here. About the year 918, a band of pirates entered the harbour; but the greater number were slain by the inhabitants, and the rest escaping to the island of Steepholmes, died of hunger. In 1052, Harold, son of Earl Godwin, having sailed from Ireland with nine ships, entered Porlock bay, and, being unsuccessfully opposed by the inhabitants, slew great numbers, set fire to the town, and carried off much booty. " [2]

Early History of the Portlan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Portlan research. Another 53 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 128 and 1281 are included under the topic Early Portlan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Portlan Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Portland, Pertland, Portlan, Portlock and others.

Early Notables of the Portlan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Portlan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Portlan family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Henry Portland, who settled in Maryland in 1660; James Portland, a bonded passenger, who came to America in 1766; and Maria Portland, who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1839..



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


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