British Surnames: 60 Interesting and Common English Last Names (2023)

Talk about fancy locations, historical places, beautiful architecture and mesmerizing tone of language; we all love those beautiful English things! Few of you might even think of TV shows and movies, which indeed have more charm than others. It is safe to say that we love everything English, and these British surnames are no exception. They give out the feel of royalty, nobility and wit; after all, who doesn’t want to choose British surnames?!

Today, we have something very exciting to check out – the English surnames. We have compiled the list of the most popular and mesmerizing meaningful British last names that impressed our hearts. Continue reading to know more.

The Best and Most Popular English Last Names

Why wait? Let us now get going and check out the beautiful, meaningful, lovely list of English surnames. While you may have come across quite a few of them, others are equally mesmerizing and deserve all the attention. Isn’t it exciting? We can’t wait to share them to you! Here we go!

Most Popular Surnames in Great Britain:

According to research done by a few British universities, a list of the most common and popular surnames has been found. So let’s get started with them first.

1. Smith:

Smith is among the most popular and common surnames in British lands. It comes from the Middle English period and is an occupational surname for those working with metals. Blacksmiths, goldsmiths, et cetera are a few examples.

2. Jones:

Jones surname has come from English and Welsh origins. It is widely present and is among the most popular surname too.

3. Brown:

Brown has origins in England and Scotland. Although the name denotes a colour, it also comes out as surnames for those with a brown complexion or brown hair.

4. Roberts:

Roberts is a surname most of us have already come across. It is a variant of to name Robert and has Norman origins.

5. Taylor:

As one may guess, Taylor is the last name given to the occupations of tailors. However, it has English origins too.

6. Wilson:

Wilson means ‘Son of Will.’ It is an English surname and is also popular as an alternative to William’s name choice.

7. Harris:

Harris, a variant of Harry, is an English surname idea. It is also a common alternative to Henry.

8. Williams:

William, although an English surname, is adapted from German. It means ‘desire’ and ‘protection.’ It has been present since ancient times.

9. Thomas:

How about the name Thomas? This English and Welsh name is made famous through New Testament and Christ’s disciple Saint Thomas.

10. Wood:

Wood is a surname given to those who live in the woods or countryside. It is a middle English surname idea.

11. Walker:

Walker is an occupational surname in English and Scottish. It is given to those who beat the cloth to make it denser.

12. Edwards:

Edwards name is a variant of Edward. It is prevalent and is now found across the globe.

13. Evans:

Evans is the Welsh name for ‘John.’ It is another very popular surname choice in British lands.

14. Johnson:

Johnson means ‘son of John.’ It is originated in Hebrew and is a famous last name in British too.

15. Hughes:

Hughes is a variant of the name Hugh and has English and Welsh origins. It also has been derived from the Geerman name, Hugo.

16. Wright:

Wright is another very popular surname, usually given to craftspeople like carpenters or jointers. It is an English and Scottish name.

17. Davies:

Davies is a Welsh surname. It originated initially from Father.

18. Lewis:

Lewis, also called Louis, or Lewies, is an ancient name and surname. Many believe it to be derived from old French.

19. Robinson:

Robinson typically means ‘Son of Robin.’ It is another common English surname.

20. White:

White is a name given to those who have pale or fair colour and complexion.

21. Clarke:

Clarke is an occupational surname. It is given to writers or clerics.

22. Green:

Green is simply a name given to those who live by the greenery or village side.

23. Martin:

Martin is adapted from the Medieval Latin word, Martinus. It is a very popular last name too.

24. Thomson:

Thomson, also known as Thompson, means ‘son of Tom.’ It is a Scottish last name and a classic common name too.

25. Jackson:

Jackson technically implies ‘Son of Jack.’ It is also another variant of John. It is a common last name and surname too.

Classy and Beautiful English Surnames with Meanings:

Let us also check out a few other beautiful and old popular English surnames. While few may be typical or usual and popular, other English surnames may be unique and cool, something you may not be aware of!

26. Adams:

Adams means ‘son of Adam’ or a ‘man’ in Hebrew. It is among ancient and old English surnames.

27. Armstrong:

Armstrong’s name has origins in Scottish. It usually means ‘someone with strong arms.’ However, it is now among common and popular English surnames and last names.

28. Bailey:

Bailey is an occupational surname. It implies an official Ballis.

29. Baker:

Baker is a surname given to a baker. As common and usual as it may sound, it is also among well-known famous surnames.

30. Carter:

Carter has Scottish and Irish origins. It is given initially to those who transport goods by cart or wagon. It is an occupational surname.

31. Collins:

Collins means ‘son of colin.’ It has British and Irish origins and is a common surname too.

32. Dawson:

The name Dawson has Anglo-Saxian origins. It means ‘Son of David.’ Interesting, isn’t it?

33. Fisher:

As you may guess, Fisher means a man who lives by fishing. It is an occupational surname too.

34. Fox:

Fox has no special meaning; the name is taken after the animal Fox. It originates from England and Ireland and is an old English surname.

35. Graham:

Do you know, Graham surname refers to ‘Gray Home.’ Yes, you heard us right! Isn’t it amusing?! It is an old English surname.

36. Gray:

As common as the name Gray sounds, it is initially given to those with grey hair.

37. Hill:

Hill is given to those who live by a hill. It is an English surname and has origins in Greek and Latin.

38. Jenkins:

Jenkins refers to ‘God has graced me with a son.’ It is derived from England and is a lesser-known name.

39. Kelley:

The last name Kelly has origins in Irish. It actually means ‘Troublesome’ or ‘Bright Headed.’

40. King:

Well, this is a known and popular name. It is usually given to royal households or leaders. It is a common and famous last name in England, Ireland and Scotland.

41. Lawrence:

Lawrence is the last name which means ‘someone from Laurentium’, a town surrounding Italy. Well, we definitely did not know this fact. However, we all know Lawrence is a famous last name. Interesting, isn’t it?

42. Lee:

Lee, also known as Leigh or Lea, means ‘forest’ or a ‘meadow.’

43. Lloyd:

Lloyd is both a name and surname. The names Lloyd means ‘Grey.’ It is a Welsh and English surname.

44. Mason:

Mason surname is usually given to those who do the masonry work. It has origins in English, French, Italian and Irish.

45. McDonald:

The Scottish surname refers to a world ruler. It also means ‘son of Donald.’

46. Murphy:

Murphy usually means ‘sea warrior.’ It has Irish origins, and we love this both as a last name and name idea.

47. Nightingale:

As you may guess, Nightingale means a person with a sweet voice. It has Anglo-Saxian origins.

48. Owen:

Owen means the noble person or someone who is wellborn. It has welsh origins. It is also among the funny English surnames list!

49. Page:

Although Page refers to the attendant, it is an increasingly common last name nowadays. This is because it has Scottish and French origins.

50. Palmer:

Palmer is originally an occupational surname given to palm bearers.

51. Peterson:

Peterson technically refers to the ‘Son of Peter.’However, it also originates from the Greek word, a rock or stone.

52. Quill:

Quill, also called Coill/O’coill, refers to the forest. It has Irish origins. What do you think of it?

53. Ramsey:

Ramsey is a surname derived from a toponymic name with Anglo-Saxian origins. We definitely did not know this, is it?

54. Scott:

Scott is among the old and ancient surnames. It means a person who lives in Scotland. It is a common surname, isn’t it?

55. Stewart:

Stewart refers to ‘warden’ or ‘wall guardian.’ It is an old English last name idea. What do you think of this choice?

56. Turner:

Turner is an English and Scottish last name, which means ‘making objects turn from wood or metal.’ Interesting, isn’t it?

57. Walsh:

Walsh simply means ‘welshman.’ It also can refer to a foreigner. The name has Irish and Welsh origins.

58. Ward:

Ward means a guardian. It is an old English surname and is also among the most common and ancient name ideas.

59. West:

As much as most of us assume West is from the United States, it is also an English name. It means a person who lives west of a settlement/community. It has german origins and is a topographical surname.

60. Young:

Young means ‘a young one.’ It is belonging to the Anglo-Saxian era.

So, what do you think of this list of British surnames and English last names? Aren’t they interesting? Let us know if any last name interests you. We hope you enjoyed exploring and gaining knowledge about these surnames. We love to hear your thoughts.


This is exclusively a guide to learning about British surnames. These given name lists are for informative purposes only. The content provided in this article is purely from research through various sources across the web. The author does not guarantee or promise any accuracy of the facts provided in this article.


What are popular English last names? ›

Appendix:English surnames (England and Wales)
  • Smith 652,563.
  • Jones 538,874.
  • Williams 380,379.
  • Taylor 306,296.
  • Brown 291,872.
  • Davies 279,647.
  • Evans 222,580.
  • Thomas 202,773.

What are the 7 types of English surnames? ›

There are 7 types of British surnames. Which one do you have?
  • Place name surnames. ...
  • Characteristic surnames. ...
  • Occupation surnames. ...
  • Geographical surnames. ...
  • Patronage surnames. ...
  • Patronymic or matronymic. ...
  • Estate surnames.
8 Aug 2016

What is the oldest British surname? ›

The oldest English surname on record was actually from East Anglia. Believe it or not, the oldest recorded English name is Hatt. An Anglo-Saxon family with the surname Hatt are mentioned in a Norman transcript, and is identified as a pretty regular name in the county.

What is a English last name? ›

The most common family names in English
6 more rows

What are the 20 most common last names? ›

Most Common Last Names
  • Smith. 2,376,206.
  • Johnson. 1,857,160.
  • Williams. 1,534,042.
  • Brown. 1,380,145.
  • Jones. 1,362,755.
  • Miller. 1,127,803.
  • Davis. 1,072,335.
  • Garcia. 858,289.

What are the top 5 last names? ›

Smith is the most common last name in the United States, followed by Johnson, Miller, Jones, Williams, and Anderson, according to genealogy company

What is the oldest surname? ›

The oldest surname known to have been recorded anywhere in Europe, though, was in County Galway, Ireland, in the year 916. It was the name “O Cleirigh” (O'Clery). In England, the Normans introduced surnames after 1066.

What is the most successful surname? ›

Most Common US Surnames By Rank
RankSurnameSurname Origin
2JohnsonEnglish, Scottish
3WilliamsEnglish, Welsh
4BrownEnglish, Scottish, Irish
96 more rows
19 Feb 2020

What are the top 10 British names? ›

Revealed: the most popular baby names in the UK right now
  • Noah (4,525)
  • Oliver (4,167)
  • George (4,141)
  • Arthur (3,766)
  • Muhammed (3,722)
  • Leo (3,465)
  • Harry (3,089)
  • Oscar (3,071)
6 Oct 2022

What are old British names? ›

Popular Baby Names, origin old-english
Audreynoble strengthOld-English
Bancroftbean fieldOld-English
Barclaybirch meadowOld-English
63 more rows

What is a famous British name? ›

  • 1Noah.
  • 1Olivia.
  • 2Oliver.
  • 2Amelia.
  • 3George.
  • 3Isla.
  • 4Arthur.
  • 4Ava.
5 Oct 2022

How many British last names are there? ›

Today there are perhaps as many as 45,000 different English surnames, derived from all kinds of sources: nicknames, physical attributes, trades, place names etc.

What are Royal last names? ›

For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.

Is best an English surname? ›

Best is a surname. In England the surname is of Anglo-Norman origin meaning the beast (beste). People with this surname: Adam Best (actor) (born 1983), British actor.

What is family name in UK? ›

The 'family name', known as a 'surname' or 'last name', is inherited from one's parents and shared with other members of the individual's immediate family . British names are traditionally patrilineal, whereby children are given their father's family name. However, this is not an enforced custom.

Is England a surname? ›

England is an English surname. Notable people with the surname include: Andrew England Kerr (born 1958), British politician.

What are some N last names? ›

Most common surnames starting with N
8 more rows

What are the top 3 last names? ›

The Most Popular Last Names
23 more rows

What is the most common name in the last 100 years? ›

The following table shows the five most frequent given names for male and female babies born in each year 1922-2021. Over the last 100 years, the male name Michael has held the top spot most often (44 times), while the female name Mary has been ranked number one 34 times over those years.

What is the #1 last name? ›

The most common surname in the United States is Smith.

What is the coolest last name for a boy? ›

Cool last names for boys
  • Collymore.
  • McKay.
  • Ford.
  • Verlice.
  • Stoll.
  • Phoenix.
  • Donovan.
  • Huxley.

What are some professional last names? ›

Other occupational names include Archer, Baker, Brewer, Butcher, Carter, Clark, Cooper, Cook, Dyer, Farmer, Faulkner, Fisher, Fuller, Gardener, Glover, Head, Hunt or Hunter, Judge, Mason, Page, Parker, Potter, Sawyer, Slater, Smith, Taylor, Thatcher, Turner, Weaver, Woodman, and Wright (or variations such as Cartwright ...

What's the most popular last name 2022? ›

More than 106 million people have the surname Wang, a Mandarin term for prince or king. It's not too surprising that the top surname is Chinese, as China has the world's largest population. As of 2022, it was home to 1.45 billion people, or 18.5 percent of the world's total.

What is surname example? ›

A surname is a person's last name, or family name. Smith is a popular surname in the U.S., while Dieng is a popular surname in Senegal. Your surname is your last name. A surname can be Smith, Jones, Johnson, Giacometti — any name that someone gets from their family.

What does o mean in a surname? ›

Answer: It stands for 'son of…' or 'member of…', so 'O'Brien' goes back to King of Ireland Brian Boru, in the same way 'Mac' in Scotland means that 'I belong to that clan originally'.

What is the oldest girl name? ›

Oldest Female Name in History

Per, Neithhotep is the earliest named woman in history. A queen consort of Pharoah Narmer in Ancient Egypt, Neithhotep had her name recorded between circa 3150 and 3125 BCE. Looking for more ancient names for girls.

What is the most famous British name? ›

2. Top baby names
RankBoys nameGirls name
6 more rows
5 Oct 2022

What are some very fancy names? ›

Long & elegant names for baby boys
  • Alastair.
  • Archibald.
  • Artemis.
  • Atticus.
  • Augustine.
  • Aurelius.
  • Beaumont.
  • Benedict.
14 Oct 2022

What last names start with E? ›

Most common surnames starting with E
8 more rows

What is best English name? ›

Top 10 Baby Names 2021
RankBoys NamesGirls Names
6 more rows

What are very English names? ›

Along with Audrey and Jack, classic English names in the US Top 300 include Georgia, Juliet, Lily and Olive for girls, and Emmett, Miles, Oscar, and William for boy. In the UK, popular English names include Alfie, Lily, Edward, and Ella.

What are the top 50 girl names? ›

Here's the complete list of the top 50 baby girl names of 2021.
  • Victoria.
  • Hannah. ...
  • Addison. ...
  • Leah. Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images. ...
  • Lucy. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images. ...
  • Eliana. Fairfax Media via Getty Images. ...
  • Ivy. Thearon W. ...
  • Everly. Chris Polk/KCA2018 / Getty Images. ...
4 days ago

What is the longest last name? ›

Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr. - Wikipedia.

What is the most powerful surname? ›

1. Abbott. The name Abbott is derived from the Old French word abet, which means “priest.” It also has origins in Greek and Latin, where it means “power.”

What is a very uncommon name? ›

  • Flynn.
  • Loyal.
  • Everest.
  • Indigo.
  • Caspian.
  • Rome.
  • Hadleigh.
  • Yehuda.

Is GREY a British surname? ›

Gray is a surname of that can come from a variety of origins but is typically found in Scotland, Ireland and England. In Ireland, the surname may have a Gaelic source from a phonetic transcription, or Anglicization of McGrath or McGraw.

What is the most British name in the world? ›

Smith is the UK's most common surname: one in three of the top 100 most common adult names contain 'Smith'
The UK's most common name is revealed…and it's not what you think.
Ranking in top 100 listNameNumber of adults on Open Register1
1David Smith6,163
2David Jones5,959
3John Smith4,742
4Michael Smith4,321
6 more rows

What is the most English boy name? ›

Top Names Over the Last 100 Years
93 more rows

What are the 10 most common surnames in England? ›

97 more rows

What is a cool English name? ›

Unique English names that carry a lot of style value include, for girls, Araminta, Arden, Azalea, Birdie, Blythe, Clover, Lilac, Lavender, Posey, and Waverly. For boys, unique English names to consider include Birch, Booker, Dane, Garrison, Hale, Kit, Oberon, Shaw, Tobin, and Winston.

What names are common in UK? ›

Noah and Olivia were the most popular baby names in England and Wales in 2021 (Table 1). Noah has replaced Oliver as the top boys' name, forcing Oliver into second place after eight consecutive years at the top.

What is the British family surname? ›

The royal family name of Windsor was confirmed by Queen Elizabeth II after her accession in 1952.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aron Pacocha

Last Updated: 11/03/2023

Views: 5884

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aron Pacocha

Birthday: 1999-08-12

Address: 3808 Moen Corner, Gorczanyport, FL 67364-2074

Phone: +393457723392

Job: Retail Consultant

Hobby: Jewelry making, Cooking, Gaming, Reading, Juggling, Cabaret, Origami

Introduction: My name is Aron Pacocha, I am a happy, tasty, innocent, proud, talented, courageous, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.