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THORNTON Family History

This interesting surname is of Olde English and occasionally Scottish, pre 7th century origins. It is locational and northern, being from any of the several places called Thornton in counties of Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, or from the lands of Thornton in the Mearns, Scotland. Wherever found the name derives from the words "thorn" meaning a thorn bush or hedge, and "tun", an enclosure or settlement. In this case the word "thorn" is believed to have defensive implications, thorn hedges being deliberately grown around fortified positions both to keep would be raiders out, and the owners cattle in. Locational names were frequently given to the local lord of the manor, as in the first recording below, but more usually were "from" names...

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