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The Thornton family has descended through the lines of the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in the parish of Thornton in the county of Yorkshire. Thornton is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree.
During the Middle Ages, as society became more complex, individuals needed a way to be distinguishable from others. Toponymic surnames were developed as a result of this need. Various features in the landscape or area were used to distinguish people from one another. In this case the surname Thornton was originally derived from the Old English terms thorn meaning thorn bushes and tun meaning enclosure or town. Therefore the original bearers of the surname Thornton were named due to their close proximity to the village where the thorn bushes were plentiful.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Thornton, Thornten and others.

First found in Cheshire where the founder of the family was Peter Thornton, Secretary to the Blundells.

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: James Thornton who settled in Maryland in 1633; Joanna Thornton settled in New England with her husband Walter and Robert her son in 1635; Mary Thornton settled in New York in 1705.

Family Motto Translated: To the faithful go rewards

Found on photos since removed from Oakworth website

Oakworth Hall itself is a 17th century building and has been used as a farm, bank and private house. Set into the wall are carved heads of Celtic origin and a tablet detailing charges for the former toll road of Providence Lane. the shop premises were formerly the grocery and drapery departments of Oakworth Co-Operative Society, founded in 1862, and merged with Keighley in 1907.


Are these people in the photograph Sarah Hannah, Fanny, Herbert and Lister Thornton?


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Thornton Family Tree Web Sites
Mid 1500's
from Birstall, Yorkshire, England
Early 1600's from Mirfield, Yorkshire, England
1580 from Birkin, Yorkshire, England
1675 from Pickhill with Roxby, Yorkshire
1645 from Idle, Yorkshire, England