Caitlin Wright  - My Family Surname

The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Wright

The dark rolling moors of the Scottish/English border are home to this notable surname Wright. Its ancient history is closely woven into the rich and beautiful tapestry of the border chronicles.

In-depth research into some of the most ancient manuscripts such as the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Inquisitio, the Ragman Rolls, the Domesday Book, baptismals, parish records, tax records and cartularies, gave researchers the first record of the name Wright in Berwickshire where they had been seated from ancient times. Ralph Wright of Stirling and Thomas Wright of Blakenhall in Lanarkshire rendered homage to King Edward I of England in 1296, on his brief conquest of Scotland.

The name, Wright, appeared in many references, and from time to time, the surname was spelt Wright, Right, Write, Wrighte, Alwright, Allwright, Oldwright, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred within the family name. Scribes and church officials spelled the name as it sounded, and frequently the spelling changed even during the person's own lifetime.

The family name Wright is believed to be descended originally from the Boernicians. This ancient founding race of the north was a mixture of Scottish Picts and Angles, a race dating from about the year 400 A.D. By 1000 A.D. this race had formed into discernible Clans and families, perhaps some of the first evidence of the family structure in Britain. From this area we get some of the most impressive names in history, surnames with unique nicknames such as the Sturdy Armstrongs, one of whom was, appropriately the first to colonize the moon the Gallant Grahams, the Saucy Scotts, the Angry Kerrs, the Belts, the Nixons, the Famous Dicksons, the Bold Rutherfords, the Pudding Somervilles, and most of the names ending in "son".

From these fighting clans of the border the surname Wright was found in Berwickshire. They were first settled in Plowland in Holderness where they had been settled from very early times, moving north into Durham, where they were seated at Bradbury and Sedgefield, Northumberland and Berwick. Their estates in Yorkshire were at Bolton-upon-Swale, Botton Hall, and Sigglesthorn Hall. Moving south branches of the family also acquired Brattleby in Lincoln, and at Mottram and Bickley in Cheshire. For those interested in further research of the early history of the surname we recommend the ancient Harleian Manuscripts which are in the archives of the British Museum. These Manuscripts are a Catalogue of the Herald's Visitations between 1516 and 1600 et. seq. Some histories go back to the Magna Carta Barons and earlier to Hastings. This distinguished surname Wright of Chester, Pulford, Bickley and Nantwich is recorded in MS 774, 1045, 1424, 1505, 1535, 2142, 2187, and 5182 (in various folios) and others.

Meanwhile in the north Thomas Wright of Alnwick was prominent and recorded in 1342 the Wrights of Aberdeen and Berwick The name has been honoured by numerous knighthoods. Notable amongst the family name during the early history was Earl of Elgin and Kincardine.

The Clans or families to the north of the border became Scottish after about the year 1000 A.D., and to the south they became English. Nevertheless, despite the border, many would still be united clans, but strangely loyal to the defense of their respective countries.

Clan feuds became so intense that in 1246 A.D., 6 Chiefs from the Scottish side and 6 from the English side met at Carlisle and created a set of laws for all the border territory. These were unlike any laws prevailing in England or Scotland or for that matter, anywhere else in the world. For refusal of assistance when called, a person could be hanged on the instant, without a trial. While clans were on this "hot trod" to recover stolen property, (from which we get the modern expression "hot to trot) they were protected from almost all eventualities.

In 1603, the crowns of Scotland and England unified under James VI of 'Scotland who found it expedient to disperse the "unruly border clans ". The Border Clans were dispersed to England, northern Scotland and to Ireland. Some were banished directly to the Colonies.

In Ireland, they were granted lands previously held by the Catholic Irish. They signed an "Undertaking" to remain Protestant and faithful to the Crown. In Ireland they settled in Gola in county Monaghan, Newry in county Down, Compsey Cottage in Tipperary, and Mespil in Dublin.

The New World beckoned and the many settlers in Ireland, known as the Scotch/Irish, became disenchanted. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails " which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships ". Amongst the first pioneers who could be considered kinsmen of the family name Wright, of that same Clan or family, was Robert Wright settled in Virginia in 1623, with his wife; John Wright who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1730; Richard Wright settled in Salem Mass. in 1630, with his wife Margaret and daughter; John Wright settled in Georgia in 1732; Richard Wright settled in Virginia in 1636.

These pioneers became the nucleus of the first settlements from Maine to the Cumberland Gap. They provided much of the stock which produced the early presidents and governors of the United States. In Canada they settled Nova Scotia, the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa Valley.

The family name Wright, provided many prominent contemporaries, Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect; Sir Dennis Wright, Diplomat; Lady Beatrice Wright of Connecticut; Orville and Wilbur Wright, (1871-1948), who built a petrol engine to attach to a glider, and made four flights on December l7th, 1903; Frederick Wright, Railroad General Manager; Admiral Gerauld Wright, U.S.N.; Sir Oliver Wright, Diplomat; Sir Michael Wright, Diplomat; Sir Paul Wright, Diplomat; Admiral Royston Wright; Sewall Wright, Genetics; and Caitlin K. Wright, MSW.

Research has determined the above Coat of Arms to be the most ancient recorded for the family surname Wright.