English and Scottish: habitational name from any of various places called Orton. All those in England share a second element from Old English tūn ‘enclosure’, ‘settlement’, but the first element in each case is more difficult to determine. Examples in Cambridgeshire and Warwickshire are on the banks of rivers, so that there it is probably Old English ōfer ‘riverbank’; in other cases it is impossible to decide between ofer ‘ridge’ and ufera ‘upper’. Orton in Cumbria is probably formed with the Old Norse byname Orri ‘black-cock’ (the male black grouse). Orton near Fochabers, Scotland, is of uncertain etymology.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.