Norton stands on rising ground west of Billingham Beck, which flows south-east to join the River Tees. Blakeston is in the north-west of the parish and Hardwick in the west; between them lie Middlefield and Howden. Ouston Moor is in the south-west corner, Newham and Ragworth lie near the south, and Holme House Prison in the south-east.
The original village dates back to at least the Anglo-Saxon period. Once a market town, for centuries Norton was the centre of an important parish that included Stockton, but its status was reversed in 1913 and Norton became a part of the borough of Stockton on Tees.