By the 11th century the family had acquired Armathwaite Castle in Cumberland, and later branched to Branthwaite and High House in that shire. "Armathwaite Castle [in Cumberland], a handsome modern edifice, built on the site of an ancient fortress, occupies a rocky elevation, at the foot of which flows the Eden; in the reign of Henry VIII. it was, with the estate, the property of John Skelton (c. 1463-1529), the poet-laureat. The chapel was rebuilt by Richard Skelton in 1668, having for some time previously been used as a shed for cattle." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Another source claims the family was from Lincolnshire as "one of the first ministers of Salem, Massachusetts, Samuel Skelton, was a nonconforming minister of Lincolnshire." CITATION[CLOSE]
Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print. We respectfully disagree with this latter source's claim as the lion's share of early records were from further north and this entry was from some four hundred years after the first entries.
The first record of the family was John de Skelton who was listed in the Early Yorkshire Charters (c. 1160-1193) Another John de Skelton was listed in the Feet of Fines for Yorkshire in 1286. CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X) Almost one hundred years later, Willelmus de Skelton and Thomas de Skelton were listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
The Skeldon variant is an interesting one. Apart from the obvious phonetic similarity, some sources merge the entries and others do not. Reaney and Wilson claim one of the first entries for this variant was John Skeldyng who was listed in the Register of Freemen of York in 1463. And in this case, the family originated in Skelding, a township in the parish of Ripon in the West Riding of Yorkshire. CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X) All of the Skelding entries that we could find were some two hundred years after the first Skelton entries, so we presume that the Skelding variant is of later stock, particularly as this name too originates in the Yorkshire, Cumberland area of Britain.
As one would expect, the close proximity to Scotland could encourage some of the family to migrate there. Archibald Skeldin, was burgess of Edinburgh, 1569 and the family may have originated Skeldoun in Kyle-Regis. "It may otherwise be from Skeldon in Yorkshire or from Skeldon in Northumberland." CITATION[CLOSE]
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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