"The Swantons are still another family which must have arrived in West Carbery about this time as we are told that Swanton was a Williamite arrival in Bandon about 1690. During the following century, the family acquired large estates, and founded the town of Ballydehob, which at one time was called "Swantons Town".
In 1768 Richard Tonson demised lands, in and near Ballydehob to William Swanton for lives, renewable for ever, which suggests the two families were then on very good terms. A William Swanton made his Will in 1825, and refers therein to property owned or rented by him in over 70 different townlands, mainly round Ballydehob, but extending westerly to Goleen, Dunmanus and Durrus, and easterly round Skibbereen and beyond Leap."
Though Swanton is an English name derived from a place in Norfolk, it has become closely identified with West Cork since the 17th century. There are no less than seventeen references to Swantons in Ireland in the 15th century, including two Connaught Certificates.
The name occurs frequently in the Cork and Ross wills and in the marriage license bonds for the same diocese from 1690. Practically all the fairly numerous Swanton births of the 19th century were registered in County Cork. In 1853, Griffith found as many as fifty-eight Swanton families in West Cork, and in 1878, there were seven of the name among the large landowners of County Cork, owning between them 11,750 acres.
A few Swantons do appear in our records elsewhere; e.g., a sheriff in County Kildare in 1675. The most notable of the Cork Swanton family were those who distinguished themselves in France. James Swanton (1760-1820) who at the age of 12 was adopted by his uncle, the Abbe Swanton, served in Berwick's regiment of the Irish brigade and afterwards as a colonel in the French army. Hilaire Belloc was his grandson. His son, Armand (c.1785-c.1830), was also an officer in the Irish Legion. He was said to be the handsomest officer of the French Army.
Swanton families are assumed to be of English settler origins. The family is found in Co., Cork in the 17th century. Cork is traditionally considered the home for the name. The 1890 birth index and Griffith's survey give the name centered in Cork as well. The 1890 index finds 5 of the name in Cork and 2 of the name in Dublin. "Swanton" is found in Dublin and Antrim then.
Several are found in the works of O'Hart, and some are found as 'wild geese", in the ranks of foreign armies on the continent, as was one James Swanton of the Irish Brigades in France, 1760 - 1828.
Several of the name held estates in Cork in the last century. At least one of the name is found as a sheriff in County Kildare in the latter half 17th century.