Norton is a surname with origin from the basic Early English Nor + tun, meaning North settlement (cf Weston, Sutton and Easton for other surnames derived from points of the compass). There are many English villages called Norton or including Norton as part of the name, e.g. Midsomer Norton, Chipping Norton, Brize Norton etc. When surnames started to be used in the Middle Ages, a man from such a village might have the name added e.g. Tom of Norton. Alternatively a man from the north side of any village might be given the name Tom Norton to distinguish him from a Tom from the south side (Tom Sutton). A secondary source for the surname is from the anglicisation of Celtic (Irish and Scottish Gaelic) surnames (e.g. Naughtan). To confuse the situation further it is also sometimes found as a Jewish surname (probably from the anglicisation of the German surname Norden). The famous "Emperor Norton" in San Francisco was of Jewish origin from a South African settler family.