Select Byron Surname Genealogy

The Byron surname originates from the place-name Byrom found in both Lancashire and Yorkshire.  This place-name, derived from the Old English byrum from byre meaning “barn” or “byre,” could be translated as “at the cattle shed.."

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England.  Ralph de Burun was a Norman knight who held Horestan Castle in Derbyshire by 1086 and possibly before.  A hundred years later, his descendant Robert took possession through marriage of Clayton Hall in Lancashire and adopted the name of Byron. 

Clayton Hall was to be the Byron home for the next three hundred years.   By the early 1400’s Sir John Byron had established himself as one of the leading figures in Lancashire.  A later Sir John, known as “Little Sir John with the great beard,” was the High Sheriff of Lancashire in Elizabethan times

Byrons were to be found at Clayton, Colwick and Newstead Abbey.  It was Sir John who acquired Newstead Abbey, the former Augustinian priory in Nottinghamshire, in 1540 at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. The line continued in the 17th century with John Byron, a Royalist supporter during the Civil War created the First Baron Byron, and in the 18th century with the brothers William and John Byron:
  • William became the 5th Baron Byron in 1736.  He was known as the Wicked Lord Byron and he descended into madness and scandal before his death in 1798.
  • while John became a Vice-Admiral in the British navy who circumnavigated the world in 1765.  His son John, known as “Mad Jack,” died young at the age of thirty five; and his grandson George, better known as the famous Romantic poet Lord Byron, became the 6th Lord Byron in 1798. 
On the poet's death in Greece in 1824, the title reverted to his cousin, a naval officer, and has continued until the current 13th Baron Byron of today.  The Byron history was recored in Mark Byron's 1985 book The Byron Chronicle.

Ireland.  Luke Byron was a soldier from Yorkshire with Cromwell who was granted lands in Wexford.  His descendants were to be found in New Ross and Wexford city.  Luke’s great grandson John Byron emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1816, but died there soon after.

The Byron name was to be found elsewhere in Ireland in Dublin and Antrim.  It has also cropped up in Roscommon and Tipperary.  Byron here could be a variant spelling of the Irish Byrne.

.  There was a Henry Byrum who came to Essex county, Virginia from Lancashire as an indentured servant in 1696.  But most Byrons arrived from Ireland not England and their Byron name may have been an anglicized one.

Joseph Byron from Wexford came via Nova Scotia where he had been apprenticed to a tanner.  He moved to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1832 where he started a leather tanning business.  This was then continued by his son William who opened new tanneries in the 1890’s in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania and Williamsport in western Maryland. The tannery business continued in family hands until financial problems caused the Byrons to sell out in 1976.

In the interim the Byrons had become involved in Maryland politics.  Three generations of the Byron family were mayors of Williamsport; two Byron family members died in office as US Congressmen and were replaced by their wives in “widow mandate” elections; and one Byron represented Maryland in both houses of Congress and served as a judge on two federal benches

Select Byron Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Byron Names

Robert de Byron, the Lord of Clayton in Lancashire in the late 1100’s, was the first to adopt the name of Byron.
Vice Admiral John Byron,
known as Foul-weather Jack, circumnavigated the world in 1765.
Lord Byron
, George Gordon Byron, was the famous Romantic poet of the early 19th century

Select Byrons Today
  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 3,000 in America (most numerous in Florida) 
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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