45 Victorian Royal And Noble Surnames

Victorian Royal And Noble Surnames

Queen Victoria ruled England and Ireland from 1837 until 1901 over the half of the 19th century. Many Victorian royal and noble surnames from the 1800s are renowned and prosperous among the common folk. This article will show you some royal and noble surnames that were strong under Queen Victoria’s reign and still remain until now. 

Royal Victorian Surnames 

Royal Victorian surnames are those related to the British Royal families, either by familial association. Beside Victorian names, probably the royal last names that this article is about to mention have a few last names that you will feel familiar with or know clearly about that clan. But here, this article will provide and tell you the origins and meanings behind the surnames.

  1. Albert

Origin: German (derived from the name Adalbert)

Meaning: ‘bright nobility’

Description: The last name became popular under the Victorian reign for its connection with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha who was the husband of Queen Victoria.

  1. Cecil

Origin: Welsh and Latin

Meaning: ‘sixth’ or ‘blind

Description: Cecil belongs to the aristocratic Cecil family, including notable members such as Lord William Cecil, the prime minister of Queen Elizabeth I.

  1. Cromwell

Origin: habitational surname from Nottinghamshire

Meaning:  ‘crooked stream’

Description: Cromwell holds historical significance in England that era as it was associated with Oliver Cromwell, who was the first Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

  1. Ferdinand

Origin: German

Meaning: ‘to travel with courage’

Description: Although not part of the British monarchy, it has aristocratic significance, being used by numerous Spanish, Portuguese, German, Austrian, and Italian kings.

  1. Fitzwilliam

Origin: distinctive patronymic surname derived from William

Meaning:  ‘son of William’

Description: FitzWilliam was used as a surname in noble circles such as some notable figures were Thomas FitzWilliam, the first Viscount FitzWilliam, and William Fitzwilliam, the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam.

  1. Howard

Origin: Old French and German

Meaning: ‘heart-brave’ or ‘chief protector’

Description: Howard is associated with the noble Howard family, notably John Howard, the Duke of Norfolk in the 15th century.

  1. Montagu

Origin: English, equivalent of the French surname Montague

Meaning: ‘pointed hill’

Description: Montagu is linked to the House of Montagu, an English aristocratic family that rose to prominence in the 14th and 15th centuries as the Earls of Salisbury.

  1. Montgomery

Origin: Norman

Meaning: Derived from Sainte-Foy-de-Montgommery and Saint-Germain-de-Montgommery in Normandy

Description: The Montgomery family has been influential in both French and British nobility.

  1. Mountbatten

Origin:  English

Meaning: A form of the German habitational surname Battenberg from Hesse, Germany

Description: The last name is used by the descendants of the Mountbatten family such as the Marquesses of Milford Haven and the Earls Mountbatten of Burma.

  1. Osborne

Origin: Norse

Meaning:  ‘divine bear’

Description: While it is not directly connected to British royalty, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight served as the residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

  1. Plantagenet

Origin: English (adapted by Richard, the third Duke of York)

Meaning: ‘common broom’ – a bright yellow flowering plant

Description: The Plantagenet family ruled England from 1154 to 1485 and produced 14 kings.

  1. Russell

Origin: Irish, Scottish, and English

Meaning: ‘red’ or ‘reddish’

Description: Russell is often used as a nickname for someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion. The Russell family is an aristocratic clan holding the title of Duke of Bedford since the 17th century in England.

  1. Somerset

Origin:  Old English Sumorsǣte

Meaning: ‘the people living at or dependent on Somerton’

Description: Somerset is also a habitational surname from Somerset County, England, and part of the title Duke of Somerset, used by Charles Somerset, the first Earl of Worcester.

  1. St. John

Origin: England with the Norman Conquest

Meaning: Derived from Saint John the Baptist and the habitational surname from Saint Jean le Thomas in France

Description: Some examples about St. John: Baron St John of Bletso is a title in the Peerage of England, with Sir John St John being made a Baron in 1611.

  1. Stanley

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘stone meadow’ or ‘a stone-filled meadow’

Description: Stanley is a toponymic surname. The Earls of Derby and the Barons of Audley are examples of the Stanley family. The use of Stanley as a personal name makes political followers of the Stanley family uncomfortable.

  1. Tudor

Origin: Welsh and English

Meaning: ‘people king’ or ‘king of the people’

Description: The House of Tudor was a royal family that ruled England over a hundred years from 1485 to 1603, with five monarchs Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I respectively.

  1. Windsor

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘windy hill’ or ‘windy riverbank’

Description: Windsor is a habitational name from several places named Windsor in England. It is the surname used by the House of Windsor, which has held the British throne since 1917.

  1. York

Origin: British

Meaning: ‘boar settlement’ or ‘yew settlement.’ Description: York is a toponymic surname. The House of York, a branch of the House of Plantagenet, provided England with three kings in the 15th century.

Related: Unique Baby Names That Mean Protector, Guardian or Defender

Noble Victorian Surnames

Royal Victorian Era
Royal Victorian Era (Source: Britannica)

The middle class comprised the noble titleholders and landed gentry. In the Victorian era, this class became prominent and significant. Below is a list of noble Victorian surnames you may know.

  1. Byron

Origin:  Old English

Meaning: ‘at the byres’ or ‘a place by the cowsheds.’ 

Description: Byron is a toponym surname as well as an occupational name for those who work with cattle. But its meaning as a noble surname is linked to Lord Byron who was the famous English poet of the Romantic period and the 6th Baron Byron.

  1. Cavendish

Origin: Old English

Meaning: ‘caf’ meaning ‘bold’ and ‘edisc’ meaning ‘enclosed pasture’

Description: This habitational surname Cavendish is derived from a place name in Suffolk. The Cavendish family, dating back to the 14th century, is notable for holding titles such as the Duke of Devonshire and the Duke of Newcastle.

  1. Clive

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘cliff’

Description: This surname Clive is a topographic surname that refers to those living near a steep hill or riverbank. It is also associated with nobility, particularly Robert Clive, the 1st Baron Clive, who was a governor in colonial India.

  1. Compton

Origin: Old English

Meaning: ‘cumb,’ means ‘short or straight valley’; and ‘ton,’ means ‘enclosure’ or ‘settlement’

Description: Another habitational surname Compton is linked to the aristocratic Compton family, led by the Marquess of Northampton.

  1. Cornwallis

Origin: English 

Meaning: habitational surname from Cornwall, England

Description: Cornwallis is also the name of the reputative Cornwallis family, an English aristocratic lineage headed by the Baron Cornwallis.

  1. Devonshire

Origin: English and Welsh

Meaning: habitational origins in the county of Devon

Description: Devonshire has habitational origins in the county of Devon. It is also a branch of title held by the Cavendish family, known as the Duke of Devonshire.

  1. Duncan

Origin: s Scottish Gaelic

Meaning: ‘donn,’ meaning ‘brown’ or ‘black,’ with ‘chadh,’ meaning ‘chief’ or ‘noble.’

  1. Edgar

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘rich spear’

Description: Edgar is both a surname and a masculine given name. Edgar was the name of two Anglo-Saxon kings and became renowned in the Victorian period due to a character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Bride of Lammermoor.

  1. Elmore

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘famous noble’ or ‘elm ridge’

Description: Elmore is a habitational last name and another one of those last names with nobility built into its meaning. 

  1. Emerson

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘son of Emery’ or ‘son of Emar.’

Description: Emerson is a classic English patronym surname with a meaning suggesting a lineage of bravery and power. It is not connected to a noble family, but its root name Emery translates to ‘a powerful ruler.’

  1. FitzRoy

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘son of the king’

Description: Fitzroy is a surname with strong bonds to nobility. It is the name of the aristocratic FitzRoy family, which was headed by the Duke of Grafton.

  1. Franklin

Origin: medieval and Anglo-Norman

Meaning: ‘free landowner’

Description: Franklin is an English last name and masculine given name. Though it is not directly connected to British aristocracy or the royal class, it carries an aura of prosperity. 

  1. Godwin

Origin: Anglo-Saxon 

Meaning: ‘friend of God’ 

Description: An ancient surname Godwin was used in England dates back to before the Norman conquest, and it was linked with the House of Godwin, a prominent aristocratic family of the 11th century.

  1. Greville

Origin: British

Meaning: from a village in the Manche department of Normandy

Description: This British habitational surname is also associated with the prominent Greville family, a 16th-century aristocratic landowning family from Warwickshire, headed by the Earl of Warwick.

  1. Hamilton

Origin: typically British

Meaning: ‘flat-topped hill’

Description: With typically British surname, Hamilton has topographic origins and its links to aristocracy, the Duke of Hamilton is a title of peerage in Scotland, which was created in 1643.

  1. Harcourt

Origin:  Old French and Old Norse 

Meaning: ‘fortified farm’ or ‘farmyard’

Description: Harcourt is an English surname and has a connection to the House of Harcourt, a Norman aristocratic family with branches in France and England. 

  1. Hardin

Origin: Old English and Old French

Meaning:  ‘brave,’ ‘strong,’ or ‘hardy’ in English and ‘strong and brave friend’ in French

Description: In spite of the fact that Hardin was not directly related to an aristocratic family, it highlights noble and powerful qualities.

  1. Howell

Origin: English surname derived from the Welsh word Hywel

Meaning: ‘prominent’ or ‘eminent’

Description: Howell is popular since the Middle Ages, it associates it with an air of nobility and prosperity.

  1. Kent

Origin: English and Irish

Meaning: A habitational surname from the county of Kent

Description: Kent is also connected to the Kingdom of Kent, a medieval kingdom that eventually became a part of South East England.

  1. Manners

Origin: Norman

Meaning: ‘to retain’ or ‘to abide’

Description: An English surname Manners is a habitational surname from Mesnières-en-Bray in Seine-Maritime. Also, It comes from the Latin term manere with meaning ‘to retain’ or ‘to abide.’ Its phonetic and etymological link with manners and etiquette also makes it a surname with noble and rich connotations.

  1. Norfolk

Origin:  Old English

Meaning: North people’

Description: Norfolk is a habitational last name from Norfolk in East Anglia. In terms of nobility, the Duke of Norfolk is a title in the Peerage of England.

  1. Pembroke

Origin:  Welsh

Meaning: end land’

Description: With English and Irish usage, Pembroke is a habitational last name from Pembroke in Southern Wales. It is a recognized noble surname with The Earl of Pembroke is a title in the Peerage of England and was created in the 12th century.

  1. Spencer

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘steward’ or ‘dispenser’

Description: Spencer is a classic English surname that has powerful bonds to nobility. The aristocratic Spencer family has held various titles, such as the earldoms of Sunderland and Spencer, the dukedom of Marlborough, and the Churchill barony. Sir Winston Churchill and Diana, Princess of Wales, were also members from this clan.

  1. Sutherland

Origin: Scottish

Meaning: ‘southern land’

Description: Sutherland is an English habitational surname from the county of Sutherland. In terms of noble lineage, Sutherland is a powerful Scottish clan and holds the title of Earl of Sutherland.

  1. Walton

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘walled town,’ ‘city of wood,’ or ‘city of streams,’

Description: Walton a last name that has English habitational and toponymic origins with a rich and powerful aura. This surname also carries with it a sense of protection and abundance.

  1. Wellesley

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘stream next to a woodland clearing’ or ‘woodland belonging to the town of Wells’

Description: Wellesley has topographical origins that is associated with the prestigious Wellesley family, for whom the title of Duke of Wellington was created in 1814.

  1. Williams 

Origin: English

Meaning: ‘son of William’ or noble connotations of ‘desire to protect.’

Description: Williams is a popular patronymic surname. Exact 21 baronetcies have been created for people with the last name Williams, ranging from 1622 to 1955.

Final Thoughts

The surname is not only the identity, but it is also related to habitation, origin and family prosperity and fame, particularly royal and noble members. Therefore, after reading this article, we hope you know some royal and aristocratic last names that still remain until now.

Lynn Campbell
Lynn Campbell

Lynn Campbell brings decades of experience as an editor for top newspapers, magazines, and websites. She learned to use credible sources and spot pseudoscience. Lynn is a writer, editor, copy editor, and researcher who has worked as copy chief at SPIN, ELLEgirl, and Kinfolk magazine, among many others. She has managed copy and research departments and served as a managing editor, deputy editor, staff writer, parenting editor, and advertising manager. Lynn also served as the copy chief for several books, including the New York Times best-seller The Kinfolk Home. She earned a Bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Georgia. As a mother, Lynn combines her professional expertise with her parenting experiences to offer valuable insights to her readers.

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