Last Names

110 Classy British Last Names That'll Make You Want To See Big Ben

Give baby a name that honors your Brit heritage.

by Laura Grainger
Originally Published: 
Toddler crouching on a bench while answering a dial phone, british last names circle around him

Including English, Welsh and Scottish surnames, British last names have made their way all over the world. While Welsh and Scottish names usually originate from their own Celtic languages (Cymric and Scots Gaelic), English last names tend to originate from occupations, places, or Anglicizations of first names in other languages.

When we think of Britain, we imagine a revolutionary history and unforgettable leaders like King George V and Queen Elizabeth II. Some may think of TV shows like Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, or Sherlock (and that’s OK too). Whichever suits your fancy the most, it’s safe to say Britain is usually associated with politeness, wit, and nobility. One of the first things you learn about someone is their name, and when you come across one of British origin, it can give an air of refinement and civility (even if the person is the complete opposite). So if you’re looking to change your name or just interested in the meaning of one, we’ve got you covered.

Due to a combination of immigration and colonization, the most common British surnames across the globe are of English origin. Some of the most popular ones stem from translations of Hebrew or German first names. If you’re looking for the most popular British last names and their meanings, you’re not alone in that one. According to the latest search data available, that query is searched for over 12,000 times per month. Check out our list of popular British last names to find out their meanings and origins.

RELATED: 47 British Slang Words And Phrases To Read Over A Cuppa

If you’re interested in the last names and meanings from other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: Irish, French, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, and African last names, among others.

Common British Last Names

1. Adams/Adamson

Meaning: Son of Adam. A Hebrew first name that means man.

2. Wilson

Meaning: Son of William. A German first name that means resolute protector.

3. Burton

Meaning: Fort settlement.

4. Harris

Meaning: Son of Harry or Henry. A German first name that means home-ruler.

5. Stevens

Meaning: Son of Steven or Stephen. A Greek first name that means crown or wreath.

6. Robinson

Meaning: Son of Robin. A German first name that means fame or bright.

7. Lewis

Meaning: From the Welsh name Llywelyn, which means leader.

8. Walker

Meaning: Occupational name for someone who presses or beats cloth.

9. Payne

Meaning: Rustic or countryman.

10. Baker

Meaning: Occupational name for a baker.

11. Owen

Meaning: From the Welsh name Owain, which means noble or well-born.

12. Holmes

Meaning: Island.

13. Chapman

Meaning: Trader, monger, or merchant.

14. Webb

Meaning: Weaver or to weave.

15. Allen

Meaning: Rock.

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16. Jones

Meaning: Son of John. A Hebrew first name that means “God is gracious.”

17. Davidson/Davies

Meaning: Son of David. A Hebrew first name that means beloved.

18. Foster

Meaning: To nourish or rear.

19. Matthews

Meaning: Son of Matthew. A Hebrew first name that means “Gift of God.”

20. White

Meaning: Of pale or fair complexion.

21. Griffiths

Meaning: Strong chief.

22. Knight

Meaning: Occupational name for a knight or soldier.

23. Corbyn

Meaning: A raven or dark-haired person.

24. Young

Meaning: The younger or junior one.

25. Evans

Meaning: Son of Evan. A Hebrew first name that means “God is gracious.”

26. Smith

Meaning: Blacksmith.

27. Wright

Meaning: A woodworker.

28. Jenkins

Meaning: John’s kin or little John.

29. Green

Meaning: Dweller by the village green.

30. Hughes

Meaning: Son of Hugh or Hugo. A German first name that means mind.

31. Taylor

Meaning: Tailor.

32. Hall

Meaning: A manor house.

33. Anderson

Meaning: Son of Andrew.

34. Armstrong

Meaning: A man with strong arms.

35. Cox

Meaning: Rooster.

36. Atkinson

Meaning: Son of Atkins.

37. Bell

Meaning: A French name that means beautiful.

38. Carter

Meaning: A Scottish and Irish name that means someone who moves goods by transport.

39. Cole

Meaning: Charcoal.

40. Collins

Meaning: Son of Colin.

41. Dawson

Meaning: Son of David.

42. Bailey

Meaning: Berry wood.

43. Ball

Meaning: Slope or hill.

44. Dixon

Meaning: Son of Dick.

45. Edwards

Meaning: Prosperity guard.

46. Brown

Meaning: Brown complexion or clothing. An Old English word that means brun.

47. Clarke

Meaning: Clerk. A Latin word that means clericus.

48. Yates

Meaning: Gatekeeper or family name of people who lived near the gates of a walled town.

49. Zelly

Meaning: Happy or blessed.

50. Zouch

Meaning: Dweller by the tree stump. A French name for someone with a stocky build.

51. Fisher

Meaning: Fishermen or salmon.

52. Fletcher

Meaning: Arrowsmith or seller of arrows.

53. Ford

Meaning: An Irish name that means Fuartháin or descendant of O Fuarthán.

54. Fox

Meaning: Fox.

55. Gibson

Meaning: A Scottish name that means Gilbert, son of Gilbert, or son of Gib.

56. Graham

Meaning: Grey home or a common last name for people who belong to a clan.

57. Grant

Meaning: Tall or large.

58. Gray

Meaning: Grey hair.

59. Sallow

Meaning: Someone who lives near a willow or dead willow trees.

60. Fernsby

Meaning: Fern or farmstead.

61. Villin

Meaning: A commoner or a servant in a noble household.

62. Miracle

Meaning: Dark.

63. Dankworth

Meaning: Refers to a farmstead, or an enclosed settlement.

64. Relish

Meaning: Taste or flavor; something remaining, that which is left behind.

65. Loughty

Meaning: The name of two villages in Tayside; a lake or inlet.

66. Birdwhistle

Meaning: A family name of people who live near the town of Padiham in Lancashire or Dewsbury in Yorkshire.

67. Berrycloth

Meaning: Grove, or wood; a ravine or steep slope.

68. Palmer

Meaning: Palm bearer.

69. Peterson

Meaning: Son of Peter (Scandinavian); stone or rock (Greek).

70. Quill

Meaning: Forest or shrub.

71. Quintrell

Meaning: Horn or headland.

72. Ratliff

Meaning: Red cliff.

73. Stewart

Meaning: Warden or wall guardian.

74. Turner

Meaning: Maker of objects from wood or metal.

75. Walsh

Meaning: Foreigner or Welshman.

76. Cooper

Meaning: Barrel maker.

77. Morris

Meaning: Of the marsh.

78. Watson

Meaning: Son of Walter.

79. Harrison

Meaning: Son of Harry.

80. Morgan

Meaning: Sea dweller.

81. Campbell

Meaning: Crooked mouth or wry-mouthed.

82. Ainsworth

Meaning: Enclosure.

83. Cornish

Meaning: Regional name for someone from Cornwall.

84. Eastaughffe

Meaning: Eastern town or homestead.

85. Eaton

Meaning: Homestead by an island or a river.

86. Elton

Meaning: Ella’s town.

87. Enfield

Meaning: Last names of people who live near a lamb field.

88. Everly

Meaning: Wild boar or woodland clearing.

89. Gastrell

Meaning: Derives from the last name of Rev. Francis Gastrell.

90. Garfield

Meaning: A habitational surname.

91. Browning

Meaning: A tiny semi-automatic handgun in Europe.

92. Camden

Meaning: Originates from Charles Pratt who sold lots from his manor.

Fancy British Last Names

1. Andilet

Meaning: Messenger.

2. Alinac

Meaning: Light or independent and strong-willed.

3. Bancroft

Meaning: Field of beans.

4. Bandini

Meaning: “One who glues together,” or “is bound.”

5. Bobellon

Meaning: Beautiful.

6. Carmichael

Meaning: Kind.

7. Cobain

Meaning: A rock star.

8. Dalton

Meaning: “With a life path.”

9. Duke

Meaning: Leader.

10. Elffire

Meaning: Foolish flame.

11. Featherswallow

Meaning: Trader or someone who resembles a bird.

12. Granger

Meaning: Granary.

13. Halifax

Meaning: Cool.

14. Kennedy

Meaning: Leader of the clan or helmet.

15. Lawrence

Meaning: Someone from Laurentium.

16. Lloyd

Meaning: Grey.

17. Marshall

Meaning: Horse or someone who tends to horses.

18. Osborne

Meaning: God, bear, or “soldier of God.”

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