Recorded in the spellings of Nolton and Noulton, this is a British locational surname. It almost certainly describes a person who lived 'at an old place', from the pre medieval Old English phrase 'atten eald tun' which could be from almost anywhere in the British Isles. The only villages of the same spellings are to be found in the county of Pembroke, in the far west of Wales. This area was known as 'Little England', and in the 12th century it was 'planted' with 'settlers' who supported the English monarchs, and who helped to make for easier communication with Ireland. We have no specific proof that the surname originated from these villages, the tradition in Wales is for most surnames to have originated as patronymics, hence the popular Jones, Davies, and Thomas as examples. However locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say that the nameholders were given them after they left their original homes and moved elsewhere, so the 'Welsh Connection' is very possible. In the small communities prior to the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, the easiest form of identification of a 'stranger' was to call him or her by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic, and local accents very thick, lead to the development of variant spellings. The difficulty with such names is finding proven early recordings, however we have a number of examples in surviving early registers of the city of London for the 17th century. These include Francis Nolton, a christening witness at the church of St Mary Whitechapel, on July 23rd 1643, in the reign of Charles 1st (1625 - 1649), and later, Benjamin Noulton, who married Ann Godward at Charterhouse Chappel (as spelt), Finsbury Square, London, on December 21st 1708.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017