Recorded in several spellings including the popular Wright, as well as the much rarer forms of Wrighte, Wraight, Wraighte, Wreight, Wrate, and patronymics Wrightson and Wrixon, this is an early English surname. It is occupational and was used to describe a maker of machinery or objects, mostly in wood. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'wyrhta' meaning a craftsman, itself from the verb 'wyrcan', meaning to work or construct as in wheelwright, cartwright, millwright and wainwright. When 'wyrhta' was used on its own, it often referred to a builder of windmills or watermills. Perhaps not surprisingly this is one of the first occupational surnames to be recorded, and early examples include Robert Wricht of Shropshire in 1274 and Thomas le Wrighte of Derbyshire in 1327.
Later examples of the surname recording include Joan Wright and Richard Trevesse who were married on May 29th 1552, at the church of St. Lawrence Jewry, in the city of London, whilst one of the earliest settlers in the New England colonies of America was Jeffery Wright, aged 18 years. He left from the Port of London aboard the ship "Truelove" bound for the Bermuda Island in June 1635. Probably the best known bearers of the name are the Wright brothers, Wilbur (1867 - 1912), and his brother Orville (1871 - 1948), the U.S. aviation pioneers, who designed and flew the first powered aircraft (1903). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Patere le Writh. This was dated 1214, in the tax rolls known as the "Feet of Fines" for the county of Sussex.
The Wright name is recorded 95,956 times in the 1881 census. By the time of 1998 electoral roll there had been a increase in the number to 123,876.