The English surname Upton is of habitational origin from any of the numerous places called Upton. The majority of them are named from Old English up- ‘upper’ + tun ‘enclosure’, ‘settlement’. One in Essex, however, was originally named with the phrase upp in tune ‘up in the settlement’, i.e. the higher part of the settlement; and one in Worcestershire is probably so called from the Old English personal name Ubba + tun. Early examples of the surname recording include John de Upton in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire, in 1272, whilst in Ireland bearers of the name generally descend from Henry Upton of Devonshire. He served in Ireland under the earl of Essex in 1598, and was subsequently granted lands there. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ethestan on Optune, which was dated 972 - "The Old English Byname Register", for Northamptonshire.
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