An English and Scottish surname, the Thornton family name came from the Old English term of â€˜pronâ€™ and â€˜tunâ€™ which meant a thorn bush settlement.
A spelling variation for Thornton is Thorten.
In Scotland the Thornton families live in Midlothian and Lancashire primarily. Several are in t other counties such as Angus and Perthshire. The Thornton name started in Cheshire region and is common in Yorkshire and Lancashire counties.
Within the United States the Thornton families are mostly in Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Virginia, Ohio, New York California, Washington, Arkansas and Pennsylvania.
Famous: Billy Bob Thornton (film actor), Bret Thornton (Australian footballer), Eleanor Velasco Thornton (model and actress), Charles â€˜Texâ€™ Thornton (founder of Litton Industries) and Sean Thornton (profession footballer for the Republic of Ireland).