Origin of the surname Crichton/Creighton

copied from the Craton website: http://www.craton.net/genealogy/index.htm

The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Creighton

Few areas in Britain have produced as many notable families in world history such as the names Armstrong, Nixon, Graham, Bell. Carson, Hume, lrving. Lock, Rutherford, as the border region between England and Scotland. The family name Creighton or Crichton is included in this group.

Researchers have confirmed the first documented history of this name in lowland Scotland and northern England, tracing it through many ancient manuscripts, including private collections of historical and genealogical records, the Inquisitio, the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Ragman Rolls, The Hearth Rolls, the Domesday Book, parish cartularies, baptismals and tax rolls. The first record of the name Creighton was found in Midlothian where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Different spellings of the name were found in the archives researched, typically linking each alternate to the root source of the surname. The surname Creighton, occurred in many references, from time to time the surname was spelt Crichton, Crighton, Creighton, Creyghton, Creaton, Craighton, Cretan, Creeton, Crichten, Chreichton, Creichtone, Creychton, Creychtoun, Creychtoune or Krichton and Krechton (in Germany) and probably many others, including Craton and Crayton. These changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son or between two occasions of the same person. Scribes and church officials recorded the name from its sound.

The family name Creighton is believed to be descended originally from the Strathclyde Britons. This ancient founding race of the north were a mixture of Gaelic/Celts whose original territories ranged from Lancashire in the south, northward to the south hank of the River Clyde in Scotland.

Tracing its ancient development, the name Creighton was found in Midlothian where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated in the territories of Kreiton in that shire. The first on record was Thurstan de Crectune, who was granted lands by King David of Scotland in 1128. Alexander and Thomas Creighton both having territories in Berwickshire rendered homage to King Edward I of England on his brief conquest of Scotland. in 1296. The Chief of the Clan Crichton was elected to the Peerage and became the Earl of Erne and Lord Crichton in addition to the title of Viscount Frendraught. A junior branch became the Earls of Dumfries and the Marquises of Bute. They were a distinguished Border clan and played an important role in the defence of the Scottish border. Notable amongst the family at this time was Lord Crichton, Viscount Frendraught.

By the year 1000 AD., border life was in turmoil. In 1246, 6 Chiefs from the Scottish side and 6 from the English side met at Carlisle and produced a set of laws governing all the border Clans. These were unlike any laws prevailing in England or Scotland or, for that matter, anywhere else in the world. For example, it was a far greater offence to refuse to help a neighbour recover his property, wife, sheep, cattle or horses than it was to steal them in the first place. Hence the expression "Hot Trod", or, a hot pursuit, from which we get the modern "Hot to trot". For refusal of assistance during a "Hot Trod", a person could he hanged on the instant, without trial. Frequently, the descendants of these clans or families apologetically refer to themselves as being descended from "Cattle or horse thieves" when, in fact, it was an accepted code of life on the border.

In 1603, the unified English and Scottish crowns under James 1st dispersed these "unruly border clans", clans which had served loyally in the defence of each side. The unification of the governments was threatened and it was imperative that the old "border code" should he broken up. Hence, the Border Clans were banished to England, northern Scotland and to Ireland. Some were outlawed directly to Ireland, the Colonies and the New World.

Many Border Clans settled in Northern Ireland, transferred between 1650 and 1700 with grants of land provided they "undertook" to remain Protestant. Hence they became known as the "Undertakers". Many became proudly Irish. Twenty heads of families moved to Ireland and settled mostly in county Down.

But life in Ireland was little more rewarding and they sought a more challenging life. They looked to the New World and sailed aboard the "White Sails " an armada of sailing ships such as the Hector, the Rumbler, and the Dove which struggled across the stormy Atlantic. Some ships lost 30 or 40% of their passenger list. migrants who were buried at sea having died from dysentery, cholera, small pox and typhoid.

In North America, some of the first migrants which could be considered kinsmen of the family name Creighton and their spelling variants included John Crichton who settled in New Jersey in 1686: James Crichton settled in New York in 1820: James Critton settled in Potomac Maryland in 1747; Ann Crighton settled in Philadelphia Pa. in 1774 A. and Agnes Crighton settled in New York state with two children in 1822, Richard Crighton landed in Philadelphia Pa. in 1858: Charles Creighton. Daniel. Hugh, .lames, John, Robert, Samuel, William, Creighton, all settled in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1865: Isaac Crayton settled in Charles Town SC. in 1766. The migrants formed wagon trains westward, rolling west of the prairies, or the west coast. During the American War of Independence those that remained loyal to the Crown moved north into Canada and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

There were many notable contemporaries of this name Creighton. Professor Donald Creighton: Harold Creighton, Editor of the Spectator: General Edward Crichton: Sir John Crichton: Sir Andrew Crichton: Earl of Erne. Viscount Crichton.

Note: Research has determined the above Coat of Arms to be the most ancient recorded for the family surname Creighton, dating from about 1500.

Laatste wijziging: 29.11.2007