Railton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Railton name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in the ancient market town of Fakenham which was located beside the river of Wensum. Before 1086 the lands of Fakenham were controlled by Pacham which included three mills, a salt house and lush green pasture for two hundred sheep. Railton is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Railton family

The surname Railton was first found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say before the Norman Conquest in 1066. Conjecturally they are descended from the Lords of the manor of Fakenham. At the time of the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086, Fakenham was held by Pacham who held the King's land which consisted of three mills, half a salt house, a flour mill, and two hundred sheep. This pretty little market town is on the River Wensum.

Further to the north in Scotland, there were listings of the family in the 16th century. By example, John Railtoun, was Burgess of Edinburgh in 1544 and Allan Raltoune was Burgess Freeman of Glasgow, 1607. [1]

Early History of the Railton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Railton research. Another 121 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1684 and 1767 are included under the topic Early Railton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Railton 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 Railton include Railtone, Railton, Reltone, Relton, Rayltone and many more.

Early Notables of the Railton family (pre 1700)

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


Canada Railton migration to Canada +

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 Railton or a variant listed above:

Railton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Bilton Railton, David Railton, and George Railton, who were all recorded in the census of Ontario, Canada in 1871

Contemporary Notables of the name Railton (post 1700) +

  • Peter Railton (b. 1950), American Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Dame Ruth Railton DBE, American Founder and Musical Director of the National Youth Orchestra, and Professor, Chopin Conservatoire Warsaw, also Governor, Royal Ballet School, now living in Dublin
  • Reverend David Railton (1884-1955), English Church of England military chaplain, said to be the originator of the concept of the tomb of The Unknown Warrior
  • Dame Ruth Railton (1915-2001), English pianist and conductor
  • Reid Anthony Railton (1895-1977), British automotive engineer, and designer of land and water speed record vehicles, eponym of Railton, a British car maker
  • Samuel Victor Railton (1906-1996), Canadian physician, surgeon and politician, member of the Canadian House of Commons
  • George Scott Railton (1849-1913), Scottish clergyman, the first Commissioner of The Salvation Army
  • William Railton (1801-1877), British architect, best known for "Nelson's Column" in London


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)


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