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Lost Langtons: Start Here!

David Langton

March 2011


Start Here - What Langton family do you belong to?


It's easy to assume that all Langtons are related and one large family. In reality we are at least a dozen groups sharing the same name. You could be descended from any one of these groups which have their origins in different parts of the country. There are several dozen Langton villages but a smaller number of groupings. Ultimately even if your relative tracing comes to an end you may well be able to establish which Langton group you come from and which Langton village your ancestors lived in. To do this however you will need to send in your Y chromosome test results. Please look at the articles on the site about DNA. The more Langtons send in their DNA the better the picture will be for all of us. It's just takes a cheek swab!


Langton is a northern and midland surname rare in the south. The most densely populated group of Langtons is in Leicestershire from the Langton villages south east of Leicester. If you are a Leicestershire Langton you will probably be from this large group but you will need to send in your DNA results to check. Despite being such an important group this is the most under researched Langton group on the site. Surely someone in Leicestershire has researched their family tree. If so send us the information. The Leicestershire history is complex and may involve two groups of Langtons. Many documents with Langton references are in Leicestershire archives but in Latin.

Can you help?


If you trace back you may get as far as Bishop Walter Langton of Lichfield, Coventry and Chester reckoned to be one of the richest men who ever lived. He was treasurer of England, promoted the rule of law and was involved in the calling of the model parliament. He was acquitted of having a sexual relationship with the devil and also of killing his mistress's husband. And yes Walter did have children. One smart move of the Leicestershire Langtons was to marry an heiress in Lancashire. The Lancashire Langtons are then a geographically separate group but sharing the same Y chromosome with the Leicestershire Langtons.


The Lancashire Langtons were barons of Makerfield and essentially owned Wigan. They were knights, sheriffs, priests usually with families and occasionally accidentally killed someone.


Crossing the Pennines we come to some interesting groups in Yorkshire. The Langtons were mayors of York perhaps coming originally from Great Langton a village south of Darlington. In time they inherited land and moved to the Leeds area. If you are sitting in Leeds and you had your DNA test done and it now rests in a dark draw send it in.

Not only did the Langtons control the city they controlled the cathedral. In fact two Langtons became archbishop but were both deposed by the Pope. This happened to Simon in 1215 and William in 1265. They were from the same family as Stephen Langton of Magna Carta fame. They all came from the village of Langton by Wragby in Lincolnshire.


Lincolnshire has three Langton villages including Langton by Spilsby/Partney which has been in Langton hands for about 800 years. Dr Johnson's friend Bennet Langton was from this family. Besides these two Langton groups in Lincolnshire there were at least one or two others in what is a very complex picture which might prove to be a DNA nightmare.


The village of Langton south of Bishop Auckland was owned by Sir Richard Langton who fought in the Battle of Lewes in 1264. From him sprang the lords of Wynyard near Stockton and Middlesborough. If you are a Durham Langton you are probably descended from these guys.


Newcastle had Langton mayors and two or three groups of Langtons. One group hailed from the village of Lanton (formerly Langton) near Yeavering at the end of the Pennine Way where Martin Langton was employed by the sheriff in 1206.


There were groups of Langtons in Berwick one of which might have come from Langton in Scotland since renamed Gavintown. Near Jedburgh is another Lanton which may have given rise to the Langtons around Selkirk. Heading south again we encounter Geoffrey Langton near Mansfield in 1250. In fact a concentration of Langtons occurs in this Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire boundary land. One of you must know something. There is no Langton village nearby and at present we can only guess where this concentration originally came from.


Moving south again the concentrations of Langtons fall. There are Lincolnshire langtons in Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire as well as in Bristol and Bath where they became sheriffs, knights, MP's and merchant venturers. Some Yorkshire Langtons moved to the Gower in South Wales. There seem to be separate groups of Langtons in Wiltshire in Calne and Swindon but we don't know where they came from.


Berkshire contains the Maidenhead Langtons who are believed to come from Lincolnshire and the Newbury Langtons whose origins I would love to know because I'm one of them. Most of the northern and midland groups had members move to London mainly West London and only the DNA can sort that out.

One of these Langtons a physician was carted through the streets because of his sexual depravity. Other groups seem to have existed in Essex and Hertfordshire.


One last group I missed out are the Westmoreland Langtons from Langton near Appleby. One of them Bishop Thomas got elected Archbishop of Canterbury but died of the plague before he could be installed.


There's lots more on the site, please enjoy it but please consider two things. Firstly if you've researched your Langton roots send in the results. Secondly read the DNA articles so that we can really establish the Langton history. Please don't leave it to everyone else. We have a proud name that is linked with Magna Carta, the rule of law and opposing tyranny. We have nine bishops, knights and about thirty coats of arms. Don't worry if you have no link with Stephen, there are others. Walter and John of Chichester did the Model Parliament and another John was involved in getting rid of the awful Edward II.


Finally, not forgetting the Irish, lots of Lancashire Langtons ended up in Kilkenny where Nicholas was mayor. But there were also a few other Langtons there.


So come on Ireland only DNA will sort it all out.