The most widely accepted origin of the Wright surname is that it is derived from the name of the original artisan trade now described as a Carpenter, and therefore working with wood. Wikipedia states that wright originated as an "Old English" word about 700AD
Some other surnames that follow on from this are Wainwright and Cartwright being those who made or repaired waggons or carts.
Surnames were not in common use in England prior to the Norman Invasion of Britain, but required subsequently to rationalise property (real estate) ownership and inheritance. For simplicity many who were in need of a surname adopted their own trade.
The term "Surname" is documented in Wikipedia as being derived from the prefix "Sur" from Old French "Sour". This origin is not surprising with French being the native language of the Norman aristocracy who were rewarded with land by William the Conqueror after 1066.
The usage of wright as a trade description was gradually superseded by carpenter, the anglicised version of the French word carpentier / charpentier.
Wright is an occupational surname originating in England. The term 'Wright' comes from the circa 700 AD Old English word 'wryhta' or 'wyrhta', meaning worker or shaper of wood. Later it became any occupational worker (for example, a shipwright is a person who builds ships), and is used as a British family name. Wright is also an anglicized version of the Scots Gaelic clan name "MacIntyre" or "Mac an t-Saoir", meaning "Son of the Wright", or "Son of the Carpenter".
The word Carpentier, now Carpenter, was introduced into England in 1066 and slowly replaced the traditional name and meaning of wright. Wright is the sixteenth most common surname in England. Its use as an occupational title continued until the mid-19th century. Its occupational use was often combined with other words such as in wheelwright or playwright. In Ireland, the native Gaelic Mac an Cheairt sept of County Mayo occasionally changed their name to Wright. This is a literal translation meaning, "son of the right or righteous".
Corresponding WeRelate sources
Numbering verified against version.