Thorington History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Thorington family

The surname Thorington was first found in Devon where they held a family seat from very ancient times where there are no fewer than three towns and villages by that name: Black Torrington, Great Torrington and Little Torrington. The place names were collectively listed as Tori(n)tona [1] in the Domesday Book of 1086 but by 1219 the village was known as Blaketorrintun which later evolved into Black Torrington. Great Torrington has historically been the largest and most historical of the parishes.

"The name of this place is derived from its situation on the river Torridge; and its antiquity as a market-town is evident from various old records, in which it occurs under the appellation of Cheping-Toriton. At a very early period it gave the title of Baron to its lords, who had the power of life and death throughout the lordship." [2]

Great Torrington was the site of the Battle of Torrington on February 16, 1646 between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. HMS Torrington was a 32-gun fifth rate launched in 1676. The surname is conjecturally descended from Roger who held lands from the Norman Baron Ralph of Pomeroy. Thorington is a village and a civil parish in the hundred of Blything, in Suffolk.

And it is here in Devon, that we find the first records of the family, specifically, William de Torinton, who appeared in the Pipe Rolls of 1218. [3]

The Thorington variant hails from either Suffolk or Essex where parishes can be found. [4] [5] Torentuna was the name of the Suffolk parish in the Domesday Book of 1086 [1] and it literally meant "thorn-tree enclosure or farmstead," from the Old English "thorn" or "thyrne" + "tun. [6] The Essex village is now known by the name Thorrington, but in Domesday times, it was known as Torinduna [1] and later in 1202 as Torritona. [6]

A search through early rolls discovered Roger de Thorington, Cambridgeshire in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 and in the Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum, temp. Henry III-Edward I, we found William de Thorinton, Devon, Henry III-Edward I. The same rolls revealed Robert de Thorinton, Lancashire. [7]

Early History of the Thorington family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thorington research. Another 52 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 164 and 1645 are included under the topic Early Thorington History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thorington Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Torrington, Torrinton, Torring and others.

Early Notables of the Thorington family (pre 1700)

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


United States Thorington migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Thorington Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Thorington, who arrived in Maryland in 1659 [8]

Australia Thorington migration to Australia +

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

Thorington Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Thorington, aged 37, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Nimroud"

Contemporary Notables of the name Thorington (post 1700) +

  • Richard Wainwright "Thor" Thorington Jr. (b. 1937), American zoologist who was known especially for his expertise on squirrels; in 1969 he moved to the Smithsonian Institution as a curator of mammals, where he remained until his retirement in 2009
  • James Thorington (1816-1887), American frontiersman, lawyer, judge, born in Wilmington, North Carolina, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa (1855-1857)
  • Caroline Thorington (b. 1943), American print maker specializing in lithography, born in Winfield, Kansas
  • J. Monroe Thorington, American ophthalmologist and mountaineer, eponym of Thorington Tower, a mountain in Alberta, Canada
  • Helen Louise Thorington (b. 1928), American radio artist, composer, performer and writer, founder of New Radio and Performing Arts (1981), and founder and executive producer of New American Radio (1987-1998)
  • Justus Thorington (1848-1927), American Democratic Party politician, Midland County Sheriff, 1891-92; Member of Michigan State House of Representatives, 1903-04; Defeated, 1900; Candidate for Mayor of Midland, Michigan, 1914 [9]
  • John H. Thorington, American politician, Mayor of Davenport, Iowa, 1840 [9]
  • Jack Thorington (b. 1871), American politician, Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, 1839-40 [9]


  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.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  7. ^ Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, August 18) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook