Village of Hartshorne, Derbyshire

The family origin is conceded by many to be in the extreme southern portion of Derbyshire, England, in a town bearing the family name.  The town of Hartshorn was the setting for the novel Ivanhoe written by Sir Walter Scott.

Sir Walter Scott; Duyckinick, Evert A. Portrait Gallery of Eminent Men and Women in Europe and America. New York: Johnson, Wilson & Company, 1873. University of Texas at Austin

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Abbotsford, Melrose, the
home Walter Scott built.

Before his tour of England and before writing Ivanhoe, the home of Walter Scott was at Abbotsford, in Melrose.

He lived in the so-called "Ivanhoe House" at Ashby de la Zouche while writing the classic novel Ivanhoe. 
The inspiration for Ivanhoe was made by
the Reverend Charles Henry Hartshorne, M.A., editor of a very curious volume, entitled "Ancient Metrical Tales.

Research done by Newton Timothy Hartshorn, who spent many weeks in the house  in the early 1880's, credits the origin of the Hartshorn family as being from German Saxony, coming to England circa 300 A.D. at the behest of the Angles in their defense against the Picts and Scots.  This band or company of men had for their tribal emblem, or rallying standard, a deer (or hart's) horn fixed on a pole and the man who carried it came to be known as "Hartshorn". courtesy of www.rometotalwar.co.uk/ nations/gauls.htm

Domesday Book - 1086

The place or land granted to that tribe or family was called Hartshorn.  The Saxon Hartshorn clan, with their assimilation to the Angles, became Anglo-Saxons.

They never completely accepted the rule of the Norman conquerors. Aluricus was recorded in the Domesday book (1086) as being a land owner in the area of Hartshorne.

With little documentation of the era of that time it is difficult to place the Hartshorns with the band of men today known as the

"Men of Green" and other descriptive terms given to the fanciful characters today known as the men of Robin Hood.
It is interesting to note that the characters of the Sherwood Forest are given credence by the British writer, Rev. Charles Henry Hartshorne in his book, Ancient Metrical Tales, written in 1829, in which he credits the story to an earlier book, British Biographer.  The fact remains that those of Anglo-Saxon origin were never on close terms with the continental invaders and were discriminated against for centuries.  Newton Hartshorn was firmly convinced, after living in the Ivanhoe House for several years, that the Hartshorns were kith and kin with Locksley and the other popular characters of Sherwood Forest.

Older maps of England indicate that the parish of Hartshorn, located in Litchfield, Derbyshire, is roughly shaped like a "hart's horn." This could only be determined by cartographers at a much later date and would probably not be obvious to those that had known the parish as "Hartshorn" long before that since an aerial view would be required.

The most probably derivation of the name is from the clan rallying standard, previously mentioned. It is thought that the original Germanic surname, Hirschorn, currently in usage today, had the same origin and may be the name they brought with them in 300 A.D



The immigrant ancestor, from whom the largest line of Hartshorns (sans ‘e’) are descended, was Thomas, a devout Separatist (or "Nonconformist" as many were labeled).

It was claimed in early texts that he was from Reading, in the county of Berkshire, a few miles from the ancestral Hartshorn home of Derbyshire. The fact that he settled in Reading, Massachusetts is possibly the basis for this claim.  While he was an early settler there, he can not be claimed as the founder. There is nothing  to substantiate this origin. His history and that of his descendants is not overly dramatic, but sometimes quite colorful.

The generations from Thomas have provided officers and men in every war America has fought. Statistically, a high percentage of Hartshorns were well educated and held many offices in industry, education, and public trust. While many were farmers and business leaders, others were gifted with mechanical ability. Gravestones were carved and bridges were built by colonial Hartshorns. They devised the auger, buzz saw, window roller shade, chain and sprocket drive, fire hose coupling and many other inventions and processes.

A dozen or more Hartshorns appear to have emigrated to America between the 17th and 19th centuries. Many names appear in lists of emigrants and some do not reappear.

The surname HARTSON is a derivation of HARTSHORN. No single family or line can lay claim to being the first "HARTSON." Several lines that settled in Connecticut and elsewhere changed the spelling of the name to fit the way the name was often pronounced.

To contact me with any questions, additions, suggestions or help on placing your
Hartshorn family, whatever the spelling, please write me at

Derick S. Hartshorn - 2008
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