After substantial costly DNA testing, Cotton Y (male line) DNA is pure Celt and descends from the Irish O’Byrne Clan, whose origins derive from the King of Leinster, Braen mac Máelmórda, who was King of Leinster from around 1016 until he lost the kingship in 1018 after being blinded by his cousin the King of Dublin Sitric Silkenbeard son of Amlaib. Bran then retired to Cologne, probably to the Benedictine monastery of Great St Martin which was run by Irish monks at the time.
The Annals of Ulster record in 1052 that “Braen son of Mael Mórda, king of Laigin, died in Cologne”. After Braen mac Máelmórda was deposed in 1018, Cotton DNA traveled across the Irish Sea to the Wirral Peninsula about the year 1050.
Detailed DNA testing discovered that John Cotton’s surname origins date back to Richard de Cottam, who lived about 1204 in Singleton, Lancashire. Richard was the son of Robert de Singleton, who owned land in the village of Cotham. His son, Richard, changed his surname to conform with where he owned land, i.e. Robert de Singleton and Richard de Cottam. As a result, John Cotton’s surname evolved from Singleton. The diagram below shows the unique haplogroup containing Singleton & Cotton surnames. Members of Family 11 of the Cotton DNA Project include the surnames COTTON, COTTAM, and COTHAM.
Shown below, Cotton DNA belongs to a unique haplotype BY2574 with two Singletons and a Clayton.
The Cotton surname has been proven genealogically to Roland Cotton born London, England 1558. Based on the Singleton/Cotton haplogroup, the Cottam surname shows a lineage back to St. Michael on Wyre, Lancashire, England to a Thomas Cottam circa 1740 and a William Cottam born 1779.
Surprisingly, a link between Cottam and the Cotton surnames resulted from the results of my recent Big Y Test and how these results placed in the Big Tree Project. The Cotton DNA Project attempts to bridge genealogical proofs with DNA Test results. Fortunately for Family 11, the Cotton surname genealogical proof has been confirmed by a large number of prestigious lineage and hereditary societies. In addition, the Family DNA Big Y test is the most extensive DNA test available.
Shown below, Cotton DNA falls in subclade R-DYS435, which is dominated by the Irish clan O’Bryne. Subclade DYS435=12 groups the Cotton line solidly with the Irish Sea or Leinister Modality as the group is dominated by Z16430 and the Irish Clan O’Byrne.
More recent than the O’Byrne Clan is a unique mutation that now forms its own haplogroup containing, two Singletons and a Cotton (me). Further research seems to indicate that the Singletons took their name from the Lancashire township of Singleton. Later, in the early 12th Century, a Singleton purchased land in the nearby township of Cottam and took the surname “de Cottam”. As a result, it seems that a potential nexus of historical and DNA data exists showing that Cottam and Cotton surnames derive from the Singleton family of Lancashire early in the 13th century.’
“The Lancashire Chartulary, Series XX. Charter No. II (A.D. 1153-1160 Stephen to Henry II) shows the confirmation of William Warren, Count of Mortain, to Ughtred, son of Huck de Singleton, of the village of Broughton in Amounderness. “ A note by the Chetham Society, XXX. Page 5, in their Latin comments about the Charter state, “Broctun, now Broughton, in the parish of Preston, was assessed to Danegeld in 1066 as on teamland, and was a member of Earl Tostig’s great manor of Preston in Amounderness. Hucca or Uck is the Anglo Saxon Hoc, a tribal name retained in the place name “Hucking”. The individual so named in the charter seems to have been the successor of the preconquest thane or drengh of Broughton, and Singleton. He was the ancestor of the Singleton family, which with its various offshoots at one time held estates in Amounderness. Ughtred, son of Huck, is frequently mentioned in charters and other records of the time of Henry II. At Michaelmas, 23 Henry II, 1177, he rendered account at the Treasury of 5 marks to have the King’s confirmation or warranty of land which he held by the gift of Geoffrey de Valoiness…” Based on this charter and the notes of the Chetham Society, the following lineage has been established:
- Huck (Ecke) de Singleton (born circa 1125)
- Ughtred (Uctred) de Singleton (born circa 1153)
- Robert de Singleton (born circa 1180)
- Richard de Cottam (born circa 1204) Richard, son of Robert, owned land in the village of Cottam and thus changed his surname to conform to the common practice “of being from a place” i.e. Robert de Singleton and Richard de Cottam. (Pipe Roll, No. 71, m.I.) From the Cockersand Chartulary, it appears that Richard de Cottam was son of Robert, son of Ughtred, who was the brother of Richard de Singleton (1180-1212)
- Richard de Cottam (son of Richard, born circa 1230) “Writ dated at Westminster, June 10th, 21st year of Edward I (1293), directed to the sheriff of Lancaster and his coroners, reciting the same terms as the previous writ (No. LXXI) the petition of the venerable father R. Bishop of Coventre and Lichfield respecting the lands and chattels of Richard de Cotton, clerk, which had been taken into the King’s hands owing to a charge against the said Richard, of the death of William le pauper, and directing the sherif to make inquiry as to the said Richard’s conversation and reputation….. By the oath of 12 free and liegemen of the neighborhood of Amundernesse, who say that Richard de Cotton is of good and honest conversation and of good report nor was he ever a public or notorious malefactor except for the death of William le Paumere of which he was accused (arectatus) before the Justices in the last eyre at Lancaster, of which he afterwards solely vindicated (expurgavit) his innocence.”
1 Singleton, Sam, Singleton Family Association. A History of John Singleton of American Fork, Utah, His Ancestors and Descendants, Spanish Fork, Utah: JMart Publishing Company, 1973.
2 Cheshire, Record Society of Lancashire and. Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents Relating to Lancashire and Cheshire, 1903.