So wh
John and Mary2SEPIA Large Web view
at is my family's name?

In the 18th and 19th centuries, most of them appear to have been agricultural labourers and domestic servants. Many seem to have been illiterate and they probably spoke a strong Norfolk dialect. The recorded name must therefore have varied with pronunciation and the recorder's choice of spelling.

We have traced the family back to RICHARD EGLON, born at Scarning, Norfolk in 1680. His son EDMUND born in 1704 died in 1779 when his burial at Gressenhall was recorded in the name EGGLIN.

EDMUND’S grandson WILLIAM, born 1756, was recorded as EGLIN when he married in 1788 and the baptism of each of his children was recorded as EGLIN. He had 7 sons, and the descendants of some have been traced to the present day.

• JOHN EGLIN, born 1793. His baptism is registered in the name EGLIN but when he married in 1821, he signed the register with a X and he was recorded as EGLING. He was buried in 1870 under the name EGGLETON when the vicar made a note in the register, "sometimes called EGGLETON, EGLING, EGLEN."

1. John's son JOHN, born 1827, was recorded in the name EGLETON in the register of baptisms but when he married in 1853, he signed the register with a X and was recorded as EGGLETON although his sister MARY ANN signed her name EGLEN in the register as a witness. In the 1841 and 1851 census returns he was recorded as EGLINGTON, in 1861 as EGLEN, 1871as EGLETON,1881 as EGLITON and EGLETON in 1891.

2. John’s son WILLIAM, born 1823, was registered as EGLETON but he seems to have gone with the name EGLEN.

• WILLIAM EGLIN, born 1797. His children were recorded as EGLIN. Their descendants have taken the name EGLEN, a name which they use today.

• JAMES EGLIN, born 1798. His eldest son JAMES, born 1814, married 3 times and his children went on to adopt the names EGLEN and EGLAN.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the surname varied in different records. WILLIAM , born 1823, (another son of John born 1793), was married at North Elmham in 1859 when he was registered in the name EGLEN and his sister MARY ANN again witnessed and signed her name as EGLEN.

  • MARY ANN EGLEN, although she never married, bore two sons, ABRAHAM WITHERICK EGLEN and WILLIAM WITHERICK EGLEN. Abraham was subsequently recorded as EGLETON but William retained the name EGLEN. Descendants of Abraham are found in the locality and use the name EGLETON.

Hence, within this family we see the names EGLON, EGGLIN, EGLIN, EGLEN, EGLAN, EGLINGTON, EAGLETON, EGGLETON, EGLETON and EGLITON. Only JOHN EGLETON, born 1859, seems to have taken formal measures to confirm his family name when in 1925 he had a declaration drawn up by a solicitor to establish his surname as EGLETON - but was he right?

Together again1
On 27 September 2005, George Stephen Egleton, born at Stanley, Co. Durham in 1934, a direct descendent of John Eglin, born at Gressenhall, Norfolk in 1793, met Janet McGonigle, née Eglen, born at Driffield, Yorkshire, in 1934, a direct descendent of John's brother William Eglin, born at Gressenhall in 1797.

This would have been the first time these two branches of the family had been together for about 180 years.

These variations of the name EGLETON were relatively common in central Norfolk in the 18th and 19th centuries. This family name appears to have been EGLIN but the surnames we use today have to be the result of accident or ignorance and, sadly, not pedigree.