The Langtons of County Durham

The Langtons of County Durham and Windsor, Berkshire. There were 82 Langtons in County Durham in the 1881 census, perhaps you are descended from one of them.

There are perhaps three groups of Langtons in Durham, those that came from the North, those that came from the South and those that originated in county Durham itself. Newcastle and Northumberland have their own distinct group of Langtons and it is possible that some of them moved south to Durham.

Then there is the possibility that some of the numerous Langton family of York moved up to Durham. In York Langtons were mayors, sheriffs, archbishops, deans and archdeacons.

The main group of Langtons are however descended from Sir Richard Langton of Langton who fought on the Kings sideagainst Simon De Montford in the Battle of Lewes in 1264. We do not know what coat of arms he wore.

Later Langtons inherited the Lion shield from the Lyles but the Langton-Lyle marriage had not taken place at this time. Sir Richard was from the village of Langton that sits south of Bishop Auckland and between Barnard Castle and Darlington. The family spread their wings northwards and Alan who was probably Richard's grandson is described as a burgess of both Berwick and Newcastle. This suggests that the family were profiting from Edward I's campaigning in Scotland.

Alan's prospects improved further when he married Katherine the neice of Sir Henry Lisle of Wynyard. The property at Wynyard came to him and also at Redmarshall, he was now lord of Wynyard near Stockton-on-Tees. In 1342 further property came to Alan's son Henry when he inherited further property from his uncle John Lyle.

By now the Langtons had inherited the rampant lion of the Lyle's which is distinguished by being wounded on the shoulder. Henry was succeeded by his sons William, John and Simon. Another son Henry in 1351 gave up his right to the property in favour of his younger brother Simon. He must have been paid for this seeming act of generosity. We do not know if he went elsewhere or had descendants in the area. Simon's son Thomas was the last Langton lord of Wynyard. He was chamberlain to the Percy lords of Northumbria and esquire to the Bishop of Durham. When he died he was succeeded by his neice Sybil who married Sir Roger Conyers and thus the estates passed out of the hands of the Langton family.

However this is clearly not the end of the Langton family in Durham. Not only might people be descended from the henry who gave up the land, there are possible descents should the likes of Sir Richard, Alan and Henry have had brothers. It seems that someone must have had sons in order to account for the number of Langtons in Durham.

As to which group of Durham Langtons anyone is descended from that can only be determined by DNA. We await the first response from Durham. Please have a look at the Langton DNA project.

Finally there is a strange postscript involving Windsor in Berkshire. There are several recordings of Langton shield showing the brave lion of Wynyard who fights on whilst being wounded on the shoulder. In recording the shield some heralds failed to notice the bleeding from the wound and several recordings of the shield make no mention of it.

Strangely the lion is last recorded in Windsor Berkshire minus the injury. Does anyone know anything about this shield? Is anyone in Windsor prepared to try and find out? Do any of you Langtons from the Windsor area have Durham Langton DNA?