Taunton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Taunton name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in the town of Taunton in the county of Somerset. The surname Taunton is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

Early Origins of the Taunton family

The surname Taunton was first found in Somerset at Taunton, a county town that dates back to at least the Bronze age and was later the site of an ancient Roman farm. The Saxon town even had its own mint and this was the site that King Ine of Wessex had an earthen castle built about 700. Records show the town was listed as Tantum in 737 and by the Domesday Book of 1086 the town was listed as Tantone. [1] The place name literally means "farmstead or village on the River Tone," having derived from the Celtic river-name. [2] The town has a most interesting history and we include it in part at this time. "This place was called by the Saxons Tantun, and subsequently Tawriton and Thoneton, from its situation on the river Thone or Tone. It is of great antiquity; and the discovery of several urns containing Roman coins, in the neighbourhood, has led to the conjecture that it existed in the time of that people. The earliest authentic accounts refer to the period of the heptarchy, when a castle was built here for a royal residence, by Ina, King of the West Saxons, who held his first great council in it, about the year 700. This castle was demolished by his queen Ethelburga, after expelling Eadbricht, King of the South Saxons, who had seized it. The manor is supposed to have been granted to the church of Winchester in the following reign; and another castle is said to have been built on the site of the former, in the time of William I., by the bishops of Winchester, who principally resided in the town for some years. At this period Taunton had a mint, some of the coins, bearing the Conqueror's effigy, being still in existence. In the reign of Henry VII., in 1497, Perkin Warbeck seized the town with its castle, which, however, he quickly abandoned on the approach of the king's troops." [3]

Early History of the Taunton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Taunton research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 125 and 1250 are included under the topic Early Taunton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Taunton 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 Taunton include Taunton, Tantone, Tanton and others.

Early Notables of the Taunton family (pre 1700)

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

United States Taunton migration to the United States +

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 Taunton or a variant listed above:

Taunton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Samuel Taunton, who settled in Barbados in 1663

New Zealand Taunton 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:

Taunton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Elias Taunton, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840

Contemporary Notables of the name Taunton (post 1700) +

  • Dudley Taunton, American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives from Taylor County, 1937-38 [4]
  • Charles Taunton, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Georgia, 1916, 1920 [4]
  • Sir William Elias Taunton (1773-1835), English justice of king's bench, born at Oxford, the eldest son of Sir William Elias Taunton, town clerk of Oxford and clerk of the peace for the county
  • John Taunton (1769-1821), English surgeon, born at Pye Mill in Paxford, a hamlet of Blockley in Worcestershire, son of Charles Taunton
  • Kristen Taunton (b. 1977), Canadian former field hockey forward

  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html

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